OceansWatch is an international organization started in New Zealand who seek to help South Pacific Island communities deal with growing pollution and climate change. They have just started their new round of voyages for 2013, and there is room for you to help. Here is the first report:
The two OceansWatch yachts, Magic Roundabout and Cat Knapp have left Port Vila, Vanuatu, to begin their work with communities. Our projects in Vanuatu and the Solomon Islands will assist them in managing their marine resources, support sustainable livelihood projects and provide environmental education.
Over the last week and a half the crews have been trained by Glenn Edney in the ‘Reef Check’ method of monitoring coral reefs as well as OceansWatch’s ‘Reef Guardian’ training program. The ‘Reef Guardian’ program is used to train the locals to monitor their own reefs. It is a more qualitative approach that has shown good correlation with scientific methods but is closer and more acceptable to traditional fisheries management.
Cat Knapp, with Glenn, Shelly Feduniw, Amick Haissoune and Jordan Smith-Newman has headed to Northern Vanuatu and their first port of call will be Esprito Santo where they will update Northern Fisheries Officer, Alsen Obed with this year’s itinerary.
Our other yacht, Magic Roundabout, with Chris Bone, Helen Beswick, Shannon Hurley, Paula Anton Codin and Carla Deane has headed to Lata in the Solomon Islands. Lata is the provincial capital of the Temotu Province and we will inform the local government and fisheries department of the projects we will be involved in before heading to the Reef Islands.
We have several other cruising yachts joining us in the Solomon Islands this year and some of these have been very helpful in assisting us to carry first aid supplies provided by Medical Aid Abroad to be given to the communities.
One of these yachts, Anna Rose, will be used by another OceansWatch team later in the season to visit the Duff Islands and Vanikoro.
We are currently recruiting marine scientists and divers to join us on this trip. This will be for three months from the beginning of September.