Reports of dugongs returning after six-year absence in Solomon Islands outpost
August 22, 2016
SB3 Project Update: Jan thru June 2016
WorldFish started project activities under SB3 in March 2016. The Partner organised a field trip to SB3 project area, including staff from WorldFish and the Ministry of Environment, Climate Change, Disaster Management and Meteorology (MECDM) and the local Provincial Member for the Lau Lagoon.
The aim of the field trip was to scope the seagrass mapping work, raise awareness of local communities on the project and discuss ways of working and setting up communication network in preparation for planning and roll out of the project activities. During the meeting with local communities, people questioned the likely effect of seagrass mapping on the livelihood activities of the people living in the lagoon.
WorldFish reported that local people were concerned that the conservation of dugongs and their seagrass habitats may restrict access to the mainland through seagrass meadow or stop them from fishing in the seagrass beds.
Discussions with people were used to collect some information on dugongs in the area –
participants confirmed the numbers of dugongs declined over the years to none, but are slowly returning through sightings of individuals and some possibly with calf after an estimated period of six years of absence.
The accurate number of dugongs present in the Lau Lagoon is currently unknown and need proper verification.