Situated in the remote geography of Lauru Islands (Traditional Name for Choiseul), the East Choiseul communities of Dudurava and Taboko in Susuka established a locally managed marine areas on their customary reefs a few years back.
The tribal community chief and elders of each village expressed their interest in conserving part of their coral reef ecosystem for food security and livelihood through the Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community (LLCTC) in partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) environment program.
To support these initiatives TNC organised a practical training on community based marine resource monitoring for the Dudurava and Taboko communities in August this year.
The community based monitoring training was conducted to help the communities learn the scientific methods and skills needed to assess the status of their marine resources and the coral reef ecosystem.
The survey method used is the Under Water Visual Census (UVC). The resources surveyed were fish, invertebrates and corals.
The method taught have been developed to suit the level of the community and followed the Solomon Islands Locally Managed (SILMMA) guidelines.
Result of the survey showed that the overall health of the coral reef system within LMMAs was good, with a high percentage cover in branching and massive corals, although there are evidences of natural disturbances to the coral system due to recent storms and bad weather experienced.
Encouragingly, high value invertebrates such as trochus shell, giant clams and sea cucumbers were abundant within LMMAs, and within LMMAs there was also a high abundance of fish species that are important for food consumption and cash income.
These resources are vital for the sustainable livelihood of coastal communities in Solomon Islands, and these results indicate that the Dudurava and Masilot LMMAs are achieving their objectives of allowing valuable marine resource’s the ability to recover and sustain surrounding areas that are permanently open to fishing.
Outside of the LMMA in the control site has low abundance of trochus and fish compared with the LMMA site. However the overall coral cover was in healthy as well.
This shows that it is important to manege our marine resources to conservaing the spawning stock of our marine resources.
It was reported that Pacific Island countries including Solomon Islands consumed most of the fish that are caught by small scale subsistence fishers around the coral reefs (Johann Bell –Solomon star 17th August), this sends a very important message for us to manage and maintain the health of the coral reef ecosystem.
Obtaining baseline information on the health of any reef system is important so that the communities can resurvey their reefs and compare the data in the future, and assess if their management efforts are working or not..
The training was organised in the two villages for two days each from Monday the 10th to Friday the 14th of August 2015.
A total of twenty marine monitors were trained on the method. The training is part of the capacity building activities of Choiseul Province communities under the Ridges to Reefs approach of Lauru Protected Area Network (LPAN).
The network was an initiative by The Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community (LLCTC) in Partnership with The Nature Conservancy (TNC) and Choiseul Provincial Government. The goal is to have a network of managed marine and terrestrial areas around the Province for food security and sustainable livelihood. Having such network will help the communities and the environment become resilient and increase their adaptive capacity to the impact of climate change.
This activity is also part of the Choiseul Integrated Climate Program (CHICCHAP) undertakings. That is securing the future of Lauru now with the objective: “To increase the resilience of Lauru people and communities against the impacts of climate change and threats of natural disasters, to enhance their food security and to strengthen the resilience of natural ecosystems in Choiseul.”
This is based on the peoples livelihood and the resources with their habitats and how they will and be able to adapt to the impact of climate change and be resilient to the changing climate.
The weeklong series of training was facilitated by Simon Vuto of TNC, Jimmy Kereseka of TNC/LLCTC and Fred Tabepuda of LLCTC/SPREP.
Thanks to the financial support by The Nature Conservancy that enabled us to conduct this training. Also thanks to the tribal community chief and leaders of the two communities of Dudurava and Taboka of Susuka in East Choiseul Constituency.
By Jimmy Kereseka