Improving policies for dugongs and seagrasses in Vanuatu through research and awareness raising (VU1).

Vanuatu: Port Vila and islands of Malakula and Efate


VU1 tackles key barriers to dugong and seagrass conservation in Vanuatu, namely the lack of information on the distribution and status of dugongs and their habitats, and lack of awareness of the conservation status of dugongs and their habitats in general and in Vanuatu, among decision-makers and local communities. These barriers have prevented the successful integration of dugongs and seagrass conservation into the relevant national legislation on the use of marine resources and coastal development, including marine tourism development.

The objective of VU1 is to develop an effective national legal framework, integrating biodiversity safeguards for dugongs and their seagrass habitats. The project will achieve its objective by delivering (1) Vanuatu National Plan for conservation of dugongs and their seagrass habitats; (2) Management plans of community conservation areas, (3) integrating dugong and seagrass conservation actions; (4) Data and maps of the distribution of dugongs and seagrass beds and the threats they currently face in Vanuatu; and (5) Awareness raising and capacity building for marine conservation, focused on dugongs and seagrass habitats.

VU1 will contribute to reducing poverty through building knowledge of dugongs and seagrasses and capacities for alternative income generation among local communities. Knowledge of the limits of the marine environment, in close relation to the ecosystem services provided by seagrass, will help build capacities for local sustainable use of marine resources. Alternative income generation models include eco-tourism in general, and dugong-related eco-tourism in particular, increasing revenue potentials for the local communities.

  • 50% of Vanuatu dugong hotspots mapped and under Management plans integrating dugong and seagrass conservation;
  • More than 250 dugong/seagrass questionnaires compiled;
  • More than four field sites for research and awareness work with local communities explored; and
  • More than 10 capacity building workshops to be delivered.