OneReef staff Wayne Andrew, Surech Hideyos, and Liz Parissenti were able to join a TNC-sponsored learning exchange in Palau, to share best practices and experiences with protecting coral reefs.
There were enforcement rangers from Pohnpei, American Samoa, and Palau, who face similar issues of noncompliance and illegal in protected areas. Though they may live hundreds or thousands of miles apart, their reefs are all facing the same threats – so these learning exchanges provide valuable opportunities to learn from each other about what works on the water.
One of the key takeaways was the value in working with fishermen and cooperatives within the community. In Ngarchelong, the local fishing cooperative has been educated about regulations – so they understand what is allowed, and can also help the rangers by reporting illegal activity. In Pohnpei, the fishermen are actively participating in the management of their ocean, because they understand that protecting fish now means that their livelihoods will continue to thrive. In American Samoa, the state and local communities are coming up with collaborative solutions, so that they can co-manage and make the most of limited funding and time.
OneReef’s Community Partnership Model also helps to leverage funding, capacity, and training, so that communities can do more with less – and we were thrilled to learn from and share our knowledge with the other Learning Exchange participants.