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Marshall Islands

Ailuk Atoll

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Conservation benefit: Conserving 215 acres for 10 years at the Enije Channel and Enije Island turtle nesting area

Community benefit: Completion of a solar-powered airport terminal and guest lodge

Date Approved: 06.2007

Ocean

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

Remote Ailuk Atoll is located 230 nautical miles north of Majuro, the capital of the Marshall Islands. The traditional communities there rely primarily on their marine resources for a subsistence lifestyle.

The Ailuk community has elected to conserve two important areas covering six terrestrial acres and 209 marine acres. Both are close to the main settlement, Ailuk Ailuk, and as a result are in danger of over-exploitation. The first is Enije Island, where the highly endangered Pacific green turtle and Pacific hawksbill turtle nest. The second site is the Enije Channel. It is a traditional fishing area that is home to large populations of the endangered humphead wrasse, humphead parrotfish, grey reef shark, whitetip reef shark, and blacktip reef shark.

The community has pledged to protect these two no-take reserves, totaling 215 acres, for at least 10 years. In return, Seacology is providing funding to complete the airport terminal and guest lodge building, and a solar system to power them.

Project Updates

January 2009

The building is being used as an administrative center for the local council. The fisheries management plan for Ailuk Atoll is still pending signature by a newly elected Attorney General. The AG office has reviewed the legislation and passed comments back to the fisheries committee. The reserve remains under protection.

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May 2008

A final report was sent in February 2008. The project was completed in January 2008 with an opening ceremony held at the newly renovated building January 29. With the assistance of the Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority, the conservation areas have become part of the fisheries management plan for Ailuk Atoll. The plan was approved by the Ailuk Ook Fisheries Committee, the local government council, and is currently pending signature by a newly elected Attorney General. They expect the plan to be signed by mid-2008.

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December 2007

News of the project has been reported in local news sources. By the end of September the upstairs construction and roofing was almost complete and by November the entire building was 85% complete awaiting one final shipment of materials. The Ailuk Local Government council approved the fisheries management plan that includes ordinances for the protected areas in the Seacology agreement. They are waiting for the RMI Attorney General to sign papers as of November 2007.

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