By Elaine Vaina
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| August 25, 2015
Last month WCS New Ireland was among stakeholders and conservation partners who celebrated the World Mangrove Day with local community based organisation (CBO) West Coast Development Foundation.
World Mangrove Day falls on the 26th of July annually and was observed by the team on the 27th with locals in Central New Ireland - Namatanai District.
Jonathan Mesulam, coordinator of the local CBO based in Danu – Central New Ireland in the Namatanai District invited WCS to participate in the event as a partner and long serving conservation NGO in the province.
WCS New Ireland Programme Manager, Mrs. Annisah Sapul said WCS has been working closely with local communities in the province within the past two and a half years to help them protect their mangrove forests in order to sustain their livelihoods.
Mrs. Sapul said it was not a mistake that WCS was invited to observe the day as Mesulam and members of his community were active participants of WCS run trainings.
New Ireland is known for its large area of mangrove forests that locals depend on to sustain their livelihoods from cash income, food and fuel.
Mesulam a passionate community leader was part of many WCS run trainings under the Mangrove Rehabilitation and Replanting Project.
The WCS team had the opportunity to display information on the mangrove ecosystem and food resources that are tolerant to climate change.
Interns Mildred Kelokelo and Sammie Waru presented preliminary findings of their projects that were linked to mangrove rehabilitation and sustainable management of its resources.
Waru assessed the economic value of mangrove associated shellfish in order to better understand their importance in Northern New Ireland. While Kelokelo assessed the health of the mangrove fishery, to understand the value of mud crabs and mangroves within the northern New Ireland communities where the results obtained would help develop management plans for partner communities for the sustainable use of the mangrove ecosystem.
Women consumers of the mangrove ecosystem expressed their interest to learn about sustainable harvesting and management practices for mud crabs and mangrove shells.