Pohnpei Island

OneReef sees the opportunity to build a conservation network across Pohnpei’s states, leveraging local expertise and biological connectivity.


The state of Pohnpei (Federated States of Micronesia) is a beautiful Micronesian high island that hosts diverse coral reefs, spawning grounds for grouper and other key species, and some of the highest rainfall levels in the region. There are marine protected areas (MPAs) within many of its municipalities that protect valuable mangroves, near shore reefs, and fish nurseries. In August of 2014, One Reef formalized its first Marine Conservation Agreement with the Nanpei Estate who are the owners of Ant Atoll located 9 miles southwest of the main island of Pohnpei. In August of 2018, based on its successful partnership and lessons learnt with Ant Atoll, OneReef secured two additional agreements with four sites that includes the communities of Pakin Atoll, Palikir Pass, Lenger community with Saptik MPA, and Dehpehk/Takaieu MPA.

Community Engagement

Pohnpei’s MPAs are currently managed at a community level, with the municipal governments getting involved just over the past couple of years, so there is a huge potential to coordinate a larger state-wide enforcement network to protect its valuable marine areas with greater efficiency and cross-site training. There is an “economy of scale” at which it costs significantly less — and has a much greater impact — to have state-wide training sessions and shared resources across the following municipal programs:
  • Ant Atoll MPA
  • Dehpehk/Takaieu MPA
  • Palikir Pass MPA
  • Lenger/Saptik MPA
  • Pakin Atoll MPA
OneReef is working closely with the local conservation non-profit organization, Conservation Society of Pohnpei, and local communities, to effect a large-scale effort to establish a network of sites in Pohnpei under its Marine Conservation Agreement, where it’s coordinated and mentored by local and regional experts that can ensure long term success in reducing poaching and increasing fish stocks for community food security.

Next Steps

We are working with Sandin Labs at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography to identify key sites and management areas for baseline scientific studies that can verify improvement over time. As we gain a better understanding of the reef biology and diversity, we can target our conservation programs to have the greatest biological impact across Pohnpei.

OneReef has added a local Champion based in Pohnpei who is setting the groundwork and connecting local partnership to increase enforcement networking across sites that can help increase enforcement effectiveness. We are also now working to secure the necessary funding to set up infrastructure needed at the new sites and intend to bring enforcement experts to help establish and mentor these sites, similar to the success we have in Palau.