The Solomon Islands’ marine environment is in the global center of biodiversity. That means it has more marine plants and marine animals per unit area than anywhere else in the world. This highly diverse marine environment sustains goods and services that benefit Solomon Islanders and others and that are valued at billions of dollars a year.
However, even within this amazing seascape, some places are just a bit more special, just a bit more unique than the surrounding seas. And, in planning decisions, permitting decisions and Environmental Impact Assessments, it is useful to have an overview of which parts of the Solomon Islands’ ocean is relatively special and/or unique.
Ms Agnetha Vave-Karamui, Chief Conservation Officer, Environment and Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Meteorology and Disaster Management said,
“The Solomon Islands has national and international obligations regarding, for example, turtle, dugong, whales and other marine mammals. But there is no comprehensive dataset available for the Solomon Islands as to which habitats are most important for these species. So we decided to ask the experts.”
A workshop was conducted by the Government of the Solomon Islands on 26th July 2017 at the Mendana Hotel to collate information held by the maritime brains trust of the country. Ms Rosalie Masu, Deputy-Director of Inshore Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said,
“There is a lot of knowledge held by experts in the Solomon Islands about our marine environment. And, more, they also are aware of research and reports which have been produced that help describe special or unique marine areas of the Solomon Islands. So we asked them to share this information.”
Over 30 experts kindly donated their time coming from over 15 different organisations to advise the government about which marine places they knew to be special or unique in some way. Their first estimate is that the Solomons has 66 special, unique marine areas inshore and 16 offshore. They have provided additional source materials to follow-up and a report will be prepared collating their expert information and all other available information on the sites they identified.
This workshop was supported by the Government of The Solomon Islands and the MACBIO project (funded by the IKI program of BMUB, implemented by GIZ with technical support from IUCN and in close collaboration with SPREP). If you would like more information, contact Ms Lysa Wini-Simeon, MACBIO Project Liaison Officer, Environment and Conservation Division, firstname.lastname@example.org; 747 3384.