Reduce the vulnerabilities associated with climate change faced by Pohnpei’s coastal communities through sustainable small-scale aquaculture ventures, fishery management capacity building, and shoreline resiliency improvement.
It is predicted that increases in surface air and sea temperatures, changing rainfall patterns, ocean acidification, and sea level rise will lead to a 40-percent decrease in coral cover and a 65-percent decrease in fish abundance and diversity in the Pacific Islands by 2100. Already, the increasing pressure on inshore fisheries has led to perceived declines in fish stocks and food security concerns. According to a 2013 World Bank report, the Federated States of Micronesia (FSM) ranked 150 out of 185 nations in ease of doing business, one of the lowest in the Pacific. On Pohnpei Island, the lack of income-earning opportunities for its population of 35,000 has relegated most coastal communities to a semi-subsistence lifestyle dependent on fishing.
With a grant from USAID’s Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM), the Marine and Environmental Research Institute of Pohnpei (MERIP) is increasing the resilience of communities to the impacts of climate change by working with coastal rural communities that support protected areas to start small-scale aquaculture ventures. These include the farming of giant clams, sponges and coral-- highly sustainable activities, well-established within the region-- and the farming of rabbitfish as a new source of income for Pohnpei and an alternative food supply.
The PACAM-funded project also strengthens local fishery management capacity through workshops and community meetings that focus on key management issues such as the catching of undersized or immature fish, Marine Protected Area (MPA) compliance, and climate change impacts. Pilot projects will be implemented in coastal communities to improve knowledge of sustainable mangrove management and of the effects of land-based activities on water quality and coral health.
See project factsheet for full details.