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Conservation benefit: Support of making four marine protected areas, totaling 8,388 acres, permanent no-take zones

Community benefit:Solar power system for ranger station on Ant Atoll

Date Approved: 02.2015

Energy

This project promotes sustainable energy production, helping reduce the emission of greenhouse gases and slowing global warming.

Ocean

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

Ant Atoll is a large, stunning coral reef atoll that is as an important refuge for biodiversity in Micronesia. In 2008, UNESCO recognized Ant Atoll as a World Biosphere Reserve. The atoll is uninhabited, with the exception of one small settlement. Tourists come to dive and snorkel, and colonies of seabirds nest there. Ant Atoll has the only healthy population of giant clams in the area, and the channel entrance to Ant’s lagoon is one of the few places in the Pohnpei area with impressive aggregations of grey reef sharks and barracuda. In a recent environmental assessment, many fish species were found only at Ant; a partial list includes porcupine ray, giant grouper, cardinalfish, dogtooth tuna, triggerfish, and starry puffer. There are also relatively high numbers of Napoleon wrasse, which is increasingly threatened across the Indo-Pacific. The endangered green turtle and critically endangered hawksbill turtle frequent the atoll.

Pending legislation would put 3,395 hectares (8,388 acres) around the atoll under permanent legal protection. Now, however, overfishing threatens the area. As Pohnpei’s own fisheries resources decrease, fishers are poaching in Ant Atoll’s marine protected areas. And because they must travel farther to fish, they must take large catches to pay for their increased fuel costs.

Seacology is granting the Conservation Society of Pohnpei funds to set up a solar power system for the ranger station on the atoll. The system will provide power to desalinate water for the rangers, who are key to stopping poachers.

Project Updates

May 2016

The solar power system has been installed and is operational. This project is now complete. and the marine area is being protected.

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January 2016

The solar power system components arrived on Pohnpei and have been transported to Ant atoll, though the original package was missing some key connectors, which were still in transit in January. Installation began during November 2015 and was scheduled to be complete soon. The area remains under protection.

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May 2015

The solar power system, which will provide power for converting saltwater to drinking water for the rangers, a radar system that will oversee 30-mile radius, and a pump for drinking water, has been ordered. It will be installed in June or July of 2015. The area remains under protection.

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