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.