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Vanuatu

Sanoa Village

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Conservation benefit: Establishment of a 12-acre no-take marine reserve for 10 years

Community benefit: New community hall

Date Approved: 01.2007

Ocean

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

The residents of Sanoa Village migrated from Moso Island in 1962 to preserve the natural resources and landmarks that once belonged to their great-grandparents. The village has a population of over 50 in the community of Tanaliu. The village custom land boundary is estimated at about 1,982 acres. The villagers make a living from farming, fishing, and selling coral and clam shells. The sea there is home to a variety of native corals and shells that have been under immense pressure from human activity in the area for more than 12 years. During World War II, Americans used the port for warships and sea planes.

Seacology is funding the construction of a community hall. In return, the community will preserve a 12-acre marine reserve for at least 10 years. The community has also committed to not sell shells or coral to tourists.

In 2013, Seacology made an additional grant to fund the installation of two water cisterns for the community hall and village. In exchange, the community extended the protection of the marine protected area for another five years.

Project Updates

April 2015

According to Field Representative Josiah Kuatpen, who visited the site after category-5 Cyclone Pam hit in March, the MPA is being respected by the community. There was some minor damage to the Seacology building, but it stood up well and served as a shelter for more than 100 community members left homeless by the storm.

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August 2014

Seacology volunteer Gail Feldman visited Vanuatu and met with Field Representative Josiah Kuatpen. Touring Sanoa, they saw the community center, as well as the large signs and poles on the beaches that mark the boundaries of the marine protected area. Josiah reports that no fishing is taking place in the protected area.

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August 2009

Senior Program Officer Karen Peterson visited this project in June 2009. She reports that the community hall is in good repair and is being used, although the village representative mentioned the need for “furnitures.” The protected area is also being well respected. The MPA manager informed Karen that before the project began the clams in the protected area were almost gone, with only one variety left; now when he snorkels the area, he finds four or five varieties.

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October 2007

The building was completed in June 2007. An opening ceremony was held in July 2007 and was attended by villagers, field representative Kevin Tari, and board member Gordon Radley and Seacology supporter Amy Sabel. In October 2007 the community formed the six-member Sanoa Reserve Park Committee which will manage both the community hall and the MPA.

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June 2007

Construction began in February 2007 with site clearing. By April 2007 the foundation, flooring and walls were constructed. The building is expected to be completed in June 2007.

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March 2007

Plans for February through June include site preparation, purchase and transportation of materials and construction of the community hall. The building is expected to be completed by June 2007. During construction, villagers were already reporting that they are excited about the changes in their marine reserve, including sightings of dugongs which they have never seen in the area before.

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February 2007

Seacology field representative Kevin Tari reports that construction on the community hall has begun. The villagers have completed the footing and soon they will be working to complete the floor slabs.

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