The Solomon Islands’ marine environment is in the global centre 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 with this amazing seascape, we don’t have the comprehensive information bout the biodiversity in the marine environment. When we know completely our marine environment, we can carefully plan to protect the marine areas, ensuring that these areas are ecologically represented versus areas that are special and unique.
A workshop was conducted on 28th February 2018 in Honiara to describe the marine environment using the bioregion concept. Participants learnt the concept of bioregions and then reviewed the draft reef-associated and deepwater bioregions. A key message during the workshop was no bioregion is more important than the other, but the entire marine environment is important.
Ms Agnetha Vave-Karamui, Chief Conservation Officer, Environment and Conservation Division, Ministry of Environment Climate Change, Meteorology and Disaster Management said
‘Bioregions as a planning tool can support the Government to meet its objective to achieve an ecologically representative network of protected areas with the goal to enhance biodiversity’.
Ms Rosalie Masu, Deputy-Director of Inshore Fisheries, Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources said,
“There is a risk in not knowing what we have, not knowing our entire marine environment can impact in how we plan our ocean space, having comprehensive infromation on our marine environment can assist our Government to plan our ocean space to achieve social, economic and environmental objectives.”
Over 30 experts kindly donated their time coming from different organisations and Provinces to describe the entire marine environment. The participants were able to revise and successfully described 26 deep water bioregions and 18 reef associated bioregions for Solomon Islands.
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.
Published in the Weekend Sun, Sat 10.3.2018