June 19, 2020
They say “Life is a Learning Curve”, which is a truism for coastal management: Lessons learned from former marine management areas can help with the development of new marine management zones. As such, in June 2020, eighteen community leaders from Lovongai Island and the Tigak Islands, both located in New Ireland Province, attended a 5-day learning exchange workshop with the theme “Promoting successful marine management through learning, sharing and networking in New Ireland”, which was hosted at Ranguva Solwara Skul (“Sea School”). The workshop was facilitated by WCS and Ailan Awareness, a local non-governmental organisation based in New Ireland Province, who established and is running the Ranguva Solwara Skul.
For three days, invited communities could exchange their experiences regarding marine management initiatives, while also learning from Ailan Awareness and WCS at Ranguva Solwara Skul. Some of the topics covered included marine ecology, as well as the threats to marine resources and coastal management options, to help marine managers to make better local management decisions. Following the training, two days were spent at two Ailan Awareness sites – Pananarau and Parakukup, both on the west coast of New Ireland Province – where traditional management approaches have been revived. The programme encouraged participants to appreciate the role of traditions and custom in marine management, and the participants were able to share their experiences of successes and challenges with West coast communities, providing opportunities for more effective marine management. The event ended with a traditional pig cutting ceremony and with participants attaching traditional “mis” shell money to a selected tree, to signify the closure of all fishing practices in the area.
The community representatives thanked Ailan Awareness and WCS for hosting this learning programme and hoped that there will be more such opportunities to motivate local communities so that they continue to safeguard their marine resources for the future generations.
Thank you WCS Marine Protected Areas Fund and the Australian Government Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade for supporting this work.