SEA level rise is a global challenge for low lying Islands such as Pacific Island nation that it poses real threat to the existence of biodiversity of both marine and terrestrial life. Like in other smaller islands, Arnavon Community Marine Park has experienced severe changes in regards to beach erosion and washing away of coastal vegetation that is a breeding ground for a critically endangered species (hawksbill turtle).
In 2014, a US-based small grant programme known as Globalgreen Grant Foundation financially supported the conservation area to address an adaptive strategy to this issue. A raised boardwalk was constructed to connect the houses at the Kerehikapa research station.
This allows the on-duty rangers to safely carry out their task at any time of the day. Even just the movement between the houses at the station can be disturbed during high tide as one has to get wet by the sea to cook food prior to carrying out daily duty.
Besides, there are times when tourists took trips to the conservation area and this infrastructure addresses the issue accordingly. In general, king tides usually occur around November- February and this is a preferable date for holiday thus this support was just timely for the local organisation.
In an interview with a senior ranger Mr Dickson Motui highly appreciates the timely support that Globalgreen Grant has rendered to the conservation area. He added that the on-duty rangers are now very willing in carrying out day-to-day activities despite high tides.
From operational point of view, this climate change adaptive project has a positive influence in the overall performance of the ongoing conservation work in the Arnavon Islands.
It was confirmed by the administration that, similar support was received from Ministry of Environment Conservation Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECMD) through Division of Environment and Conservation as a key partner to the project.
Furthermore, a historical milestone for conservation was held on May 11, 2017 at Arnavon Station when Minister of MECMD Hon Samuel Manetoali declared Arnavon Community Marine Park (ACMP) as the first conservation area in the country to be registered under a national law. This is a classic example that was set and several conservation group will be heading the same direction as it will support the rangers’ work on the ground such as enforcement.
There are similar conservation sites that are encountering similar problems in sea level rise and this (Globalgreen Grant Foundation) could be an opportunity that others can consider in applying for in the future as a way forward for conservation in the country.