Located 20 miles northwest of the main island of Pohnpei, Pakin Atoll represents one of the most pristine biodiversity hotspots in the state, with 154 species of fish and 99 species of corals. Pakin is also a refuge for endangered or threatened macrofauna such as sharks and turtles. With a population of just 80 residents, who rely primarily on subsistence fishing for their livelihood, the protection of Pakin’s reefs is of paramount importance.
The people of Pakin have agreed to set aside the 50-hectare (124-acre) Woaulap Marine Protected Area (MPA) in perpetuity. Seacology is providing funding, through the Pakin Community Association, for a community house in exchange for the establishment of the new MPA. The building will serve multiple purposes: housing visitors; hosting community meetings and children’s activities; and providing a site for some of the community’s other development projects, such as a solar-powered icemaker and dispensary. The Woaulap MPA sits within plain sight of the proposed location of the community house, making it an ideal location as a ranger station.