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Federated States of Micronesia

Woaun Koapin Soamwoai

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Conservation benefit: Expansion of Nahtik marine no-take area from 185 to 388 acres and protection for 15 years

Community benefit: Community meeting and learning center

Date Approved: 02.2017

Ocean

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

The Woaun Koapin Soamwoai community comprises four villages (Soamwoai, Mwoakot, Enipein Powe, and Enipein Pah) on the island of Pohnpei. Most of the community’s 1,100 people make a subsistence livelihood from the sea. Some people, however, are now growing sea sponges and corals as part of a sustainable aquaculture program.

The Nahtik Marine Protected Area (MPA) includes Nahtik Island and fringing reefs. The waters are home to many fish species, including humphead parrotfish, grouper, rabbitfish, humphead wrasse, and blacktip reef shark. Green and hawksbill turtles are also found there.

Community members are taking steps to conserve the marine resources upon which their livelihood and culture depend. They have chosen new conservation officers and built a surveillance post facing the MPA, to detect and deter illegal poaching there. They have also started monitoring reef fish populations, with training from the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP).

Under an agreement with Seacology, the Nahtik no-take zone will double in size. Community conservation officers will conduct an awareness program to let people know about the new boundaries, which will be marked with signs and buoys.

Seacology will fund, through CSP, construction of a community center. The center will be used to hold community meetings, store monitoring gear (snorkels, logbooks, binoculars), and host youth programs. The traditional leaders and people of WKS believe that having a community center will reinforce interest in and support of the Nahtik MPA—something we have seen in other communities where Seacology has funded similar projects.

Project Updates

January 2018

The community center, called a “Nahs” or local house, was opened with a ceremony in October 2017. The paramount chief of Kitti, our nonprofit partner the Conservation Society of Pohnpei, Pohnpei state government officials, and representatives from neighboring MPA communities all took part. The area remains under protection.

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