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.