Project Description

Background

Nimpal Channel covers 190 acres of nearshore reef on the central-western side of Yap Island, Federated States of Micronesia. Two communities have traditionally fished this area – the Okaw and Kaday – and they observed a decline in diverse fish populations in the mid 2000s. To prevent overfishing, the community designed no-fishing zones in 2008, and the reef’s condition was noted as the second best in region by 2012[1].

Our MCA

OneReef signed an MCA at the Nimpal Channel in 2014. In partnership with both communities and the Yap Community Action Program, we have developed a team of 8 conservation officers and a lead ranger to perform nightly patrols. There is a floating ranger station located in the middle of the channel, which serves as a base of operations and a visible deterrent for illegal fishing.

The local officers have been able to prosecute and obtain fines from illegal poaching. For example, in 2014 three fishers were fined a total of $1,500 for poaching – and the community received full payment within 3 months. Nimpal Channel MCA’s proven ability to catch and prosecute illegal fishing is a model for future MCAs in the region.

Next Steps

Nimpal Channel is ready for a scientific baseline assessment by our partners at the Scipprs Institution of Oceanography. It is home to some of the largest and most diverse populations of fish along its coastline, based on the observations of long-term fishers and community members. We would like to quantify the health of the reefs using robust scientific methods, and are currently seeking funding to support a Scripps trip in 2016.

[1] Houk, Peter, Gorong, Berna, and Buthung, Eva. “Case Studies of Social-Ecological Resilience in Island Systems.” American Museum of Natural History, Center for Biodiversity and Conservation. 2013.