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French Polynesia

Moorea Island


Conservation benefit: Support of a 2,394-acre no-take marine reserve, establishment of a conservatory of native medicinal plants, and community-based conservation program

Community benefit: Construction of an interpretive center

Date Approved: 07.2008


This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Moorea is a high volcanic island in the Society Islands group of French Polynesia. The island is 84 square miles and has a population of about 16,000. In the last 20 years, population pressure has resulted in overfishing of the nearshore waters.

The University of California at Berkeley Gump Research Station on Moorea has begun working with a local NGO, Te Pu Atitia, to create a cultural center. The center will promote the development of conservation programs based on both traditional knowledge and modern science. Seacology will help fund construction of the center.

Atitia will work with the local population to enforce no-take provisions in 2,394 acres of marine reserve in the Moorea Lagoon. Additionally, Atitia will begin collecting and propagating native plants used for traditional medicine.

Project Updates

November 2009

As of November 2009 the building has been completed. An official opening ceremony was attended by members of the 2009 Seacology expedition to French Polynesia.

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July 2009

The project started in July 2009 after receiving the building permit which had been held up two months longer than anticipated. Construction has begun and is expected to be done by September.

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June 2009

Revised architectural drawings were sent to Seacology in March 2009. As of April 2009 Te Pu Atitia has commissioned and received architectural drawings for the Atitia Center Fare Pote’e and bathrooms (paid for by separate grant). TPA has also applied for a building permit to the mayor of Moorea, and chosen a contractor for the work. The permit is expected to be granted by the end of May 2009 and construction can begin any time after that. TPA has also applied for a grant from the CEPF which will fund the creation of a Conservation Leadership Program for the 20 islands in French Polynesia that have been listed as priority sites for threatened species.

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