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Marshall Islands

Namdrik Atoll


Conservation benefit: 86-acre marine no-take zone for 10 years

Community benefit: Education and surveillance center, and pearl farming and enforcement equipment

Date Approved: 06.2012


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

Namdrik is one of the most southerly and remote atolls in the Marshall Islands. Its total land area is just over a square mile, but it encloses a lagoon three times that large. To protect its pristine lagoon, the community will create a 35-hectare (86-acre) marine protected area within the lagoon for 10 years.

Like many low-lying Pacific Islands, Namdrik faces many challenges, ranging from sea level rise to food security. Namdrik’s leadership has taken an active role in conservation and sustainable development. One of the community’s exciting sustainable development projects is pearl farming. Using the black-lip pearl oyster, they are producing black South Seas pearls, also known as “Tahitian black” pearls. Pearl farming is ideal in remote parts of the Pacific, because pearls are of high value, easy to transport, and non-perishable. Namdrik, with its protected lagoon, is the only place in the Marshall Islands where there are enough black-lip pearl oysters for pearl farming.

Working with the Namdrik Atoll Development Authority, Seacology is funding an education and surveillance center for the island. It will also provide pearl farming and enforcement equipment for the protected area.

Project Updates

July 2016

Seacology’s Micronesia Field Representative, Simon Ellis, visited Namdrik Atoll this month and reports that the marine reserve, which is in view of the project site, is still fully protected. The pearl farming operation is also going well, providing a sustainable livelihood to community members.

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June 2014

This project was completed in March 2014, and Seacology staff has approved the final financial and narrative reports from the project manager.

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February 2014

The project is nearing completion. Final materials needed to complete the construction (mostly finishing work) for the education, monitoring and surveillance Center have been ordered. The water tank and materials to complete the working area on the balcony are on site and are being installed. The project has been a great help to the pearl farm in terms of support for supplies and materials. Community members hope to get the largest number of oysters on the new collectors in the history of the project, making it sustainable and environmentally friendly.

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June 2013

The seeding technician, Ms. Api McLeod from the Cook Islands, visited Namdrik for four weeks in 2012 to conduct farm and seeding training. Farm materials were purchased, and surplus funds were used to purchase a good quality camera, with Seacology’s permission. The education, surveillance, and monitoring center has been completed. The new boat house is still to be completed and will be made mainly of local materials. For the program operation and enforcement tools component, the kayaks have been purchased along with some other equipment. It is hoped the project will be completed in August 2013.

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Full or partial funding for this project provided by Seacology Scandinavia.