SPREP reviews Regional Marine Species Action Plans
- Published on 22 March 2012
World Water Day 22 March 2012
The 2008 – 2012 Regional Marine Species Programme of the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) has undergone a review of its species action plans as part of preparations for extension of the strategy.
The Plans address cooperative conservation and management of dugongs, marine turtles, whales and dolphins. For the first time, a supplementary shark action plan has been included to enhance the existing joint SPC/FFA/SPREP regional action plan for sharks, on areas not covered by that action plan.
As stated in the Regional Marine Species Action Plan 2008-2012, most of these species have distribution and migratory pathways that extend across and beyond international boundaries. Thus Pacific Island countries have a shared responsibility to ensure the recovery and maintenance of viable populations of these species.
SPREP hosted a workshop in Nadi, Fiji, bringing together regional experts to review the Regional Marine Species Action Plans 2008-2012 and formulate a new and more relevant document.
The review is critical as it ensures the continuation of marine species conservation efforts in the Pacific Islands.
In his remarks at the opening of the workshop, Col. Samuela A. Saumatua, the Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment of Fiji, drew on the importance of the Action Plans in relation to Fiji's own efforts in marine species conservation, especially for whales and marine turtles.
Mr. Lui Bell, Marine Species Adviser at SPREP says, "With this review we are looking at the key themes and current activities to see if they are still relevant to the region for the next 5 years. We are also eliminating actions that are not relevant anymore and accommodating new and emerging issues."
The current Regional Marine Species Action Plans' vision is "a healthy Pacific Ocean that sustains populations of whales, dolphins, dugongs and marine turtles, and meets the aspirations of Pacific Island peoples and protects their natural and cultural heritage."