BY SAMIE WAIKORI
AHETAHA Water Conservation Association recently completed a four-day CBRM awareness, concrete weight construction and floater deployment along 2.4km of coastal demarcation of conservation area.
Reason to carry out the demarcation is to protect dugongs, green turtles, sea grass meadows and nesting grounds in designated areas along Ahetaha coast within Manawai Harbour in East Are’Are.
The activity was AWCA’s fifth activity under its UNDP/GEF Small Grant Programme funding support. It is an establishment of the No-Go-Take Zone been executed from March 22-25, 2021.
AWCA Coordinator, Mr Eddie Haikau Huitarau said the activity was facilitated by Solomon Islands Rangers Office Technical and Professional, Mr Carlos Haikau and supported by five rangers of Ahetaha.
According to Haikau, the activity is very important not only for Ahetaha resource owners but for the wider communities within Manawai since there are several conservations recently established by the neighbouring communities and tribal groups.
He said the activity was a significant step forward to the conservation and its communities as they are now aware of the purpose to deploy these weights and floaters within their conservation area.
Huitarau said the collaboration between AWCA and Solomon Islands Rangers Association comes at a right time as rapid population growth, climate change or even Covid-19 are putting pressure on people and communities’ access to nutritious sea food (protein) like fish and seashells.
He said the overall objective of the activity is to establish a formal conservation site to protect the endangered dugong and green turtle species found in the area.
Adding that this to support work undertaken in the land and seascape recognized and approved under the SGP Country Program Strategy (CPS) for Solomon Islands.
As it mandated by Solomon Islands government through CPS consultation with the Ministry of Environment and stakeholders especially; relevant to the Global Environment Facility (GEF) global species under threat within the Biodiversity Thematic Area.
Huitarau said secondly, the activity is to increase environment conservation knowledge in the rural communities relative to the marine biodiversity people rely on for their livelihood.
He said AWCA also recognized the importance of addressing the need to find alternative means to assist its traditional resources owners and users participate in a development pathway that is sustainable and build the capacity of its people in the management of natural resources through a Community Management Resource Plan.