On Kosrae Island, clean ocean water feeds a fast-flowing channel between the airport runway and extensive mangrove forests. This creates a unique marine habitat that is home to many species of coral, including one species found nowhere else. This proposed marine reserve is also home to endangered species of fish, such as the bumphead parrotfish, and ten species of mangrove tree. The area is very accessible, which makes it vulnerable to overfishing but also allows people to enjoy its natural beauty.
In 2005, the Kosrae Conservation and Safety Organization (KCSO) and the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service identified the proposed reserve as an area of biological significance. The same study identified threats to the area, including overfishing, dredging, pollution, and mangrove clearing for coastal development. The community declared the Tafunsak Marine Protected Area (TMPA) in 2011 and is working to make the area permanently protected by law. In the meantime, the TMPA has an enforcement officer and a coral and fish monitoring program. Data have shown increases in fish size and biomass since the protected area was established.
Seacology is granting the people of Tafunsak funds to construct a meeting house and recreational huts next to the the 1,468-acre (594-hectare) marine and mangrove protected area. Residents will use these structures to enjoy the protected area and also for education and surveillance.