Implementing National Awareness, Management and Recommending Policies for Dugongs and Seagrass Conservation in the Solomon Islands (SB2).

Solomon Islands - National Project

$205,000

The use of seagrass habitat ecosystems are important to the livelihoods of local communities. The shallow, near-shore habitat requirements of dugongs and their slow rate of reproduction render them particularly vulnerable to human activities. Anecdotal evidences suggest that traditional practices of hunting of dugong in Solomon Islands has been responsible for dugong populations becoming increasingly fragmented in areas where they are known to occur. Human opportunistic hunting of turtles and other marine harvests in the seagrass habitats has often led to the killing of dugongs. Furthermore, awareness on the ecology of dugongs often result in the poor public image of the animal making it vulnerable to killing. Small scale local coastal developments and other larger scale poorly controlled land-based practices such as unsustainable logging operations, has led to increased sedimentation of coastal waters which are putting dugong habitats, the seagrass ecosystems, at risk.

This project seeks to raise the awareness of decision-makers and communities on the importance of dugongs and their seagrass habitats in the Solomon Islands.

The project will initiate education and awareness campaigns targeting a range of stakeholders, including tourism entrepreneurs. Information will be disseminated through national and local media and the use of a suite educational activities, such as drama groups, posters, videos and school competitions. It is anticipated that these activities will result in increased awareness and appreciation of the importance of dugongs and seagrass habitats. SICCP aims to build community awareness to a national awareness, promoting the campaign on conserving seagrass ecosystems and dugongs.

The project will work on two levels – provincial and national. Provincial-level activities will focus within Western and Temotu Provinces.

Deliverables

1. Assess the level of communities’ understanding and knowledge of dugongs and seagrass.
2. Create and disseminate locally relevant educational and social marketing materials
3. Implement dugong and seagrass awareness campaigns among 10 communities within Western and Temotu Provinces.
4. Develop an awareness program for local tourism operations
5. Implement advocacy programmes on improved conservation management of dugongs and their seagrass ecosystems