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Blue Prosperity Newsletter - Historic Expeditions and Workshops Advance Ocean Sustainability

Image: Blue Prosperity Vanuatu partner Steve William Hango visits with the community from Erromongo.

Three groundbreaking ocean science expeditions took place in Fiji, Vanuatu, and Federated States of Micronesia to improve understanding of marine life and resources and compliment existing knowledge.

The first ever Blue Prosperity Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) Workshop facilitated vital discussions and collaborations to progress sustainable ocean management.


Image: Divers surveying coral reefs and collecting 3-D imagery. Photo by Joe Lepore.

Team Effort Leads to Fiji’s Largest Nationwide Assessment of Coral Reefs

“This expedition has been a truly collaborative effort involving many Government Ministries, NGOs, partners, communities, and international scientists. We have all come together as a team and pulled off the best and biggest national science expedition to ever take place in Fiji.”

- Honourable Kalaveti Ravu, Minister of Fisheries and Forestry

Blue Prosperity Fiji’s expedition completed four months of surveys, where divers studied coral reef habitats at 272 locations across Fiji and encountered almost 500 different species of fish. Ahead of the expedition, 100 communities were consulted to ensure expedition teams followed cultural protocols and were given permission to dive.

Image: Coral seen around Santo island during the Blue Prosperity Vanuatu expedition. Photo by Joe Lepore.

Blue Prosperity Vanuatu Completes First Nationwide Coral Reef Survey

“This expedition has provided us with a wealth of data to understand and protect our precious coral reefs.”

- Yvon Basil, Director of Foreign Affairs, Government of Vanuatu

The Government of Vanuatu, as part of the Blue Prosperity Vanuatu program, conducted the largest nationwide coral reef expedition across all its 6 provinces. The expedition was completed by a team of local and international scientists to collect information on coral reef health, fish and invertebrates, and water quality. Information collected will help inform the best way to manage, protect, and sustainably use Vanuatu's ocean.

Image: H.E. President Wesley Simina tours the M/V Argo expedition vessel in Chuuk, FSM.

FSM National & State Governments, Blue Prosperity Micronesia, and National Geographic Pristine Seas Join Forces to Complete a Nationwide Assessment of the FSM’s Ocean

A large scale effort led to a two-month scientific expedition to study FSM’s ocean across all 4 states. This expedition was led by the government, including leadership from Kosrae, Pohnpei, Chuuk, and Yap states. Twelve scientists from the FSM joined a team of international scientists to survey the outer islands and atolls to build upon existing monitoring efforts and fill important data gaps.

“In order to make informed decisions about our ocean, we need to have a better understanding of what’s beneath the surface. I am confident that this team will contribute valuable knowledge and data for the betterment of Chuuk and the rest of the nation.”

- H.E. President of FSM, Wesley Simina

Image: BPM Science Advisor Dr. Nicole Yamase and Senator Merlynn Abello-Alfonso dive to explore Pohnpei’s marine environments.

The expedition brought local leaders and students in Pohnpei and Chuuk on extraordinary deep sea dives. Pohnpei Governor Hon. Reed B. Oliver, Senator Merlynn Abello-Alfonso, Dr. Nicole Yamase, and Ms. Jeannyleen Andrew, a student at the College of Micronesia, explored the marine space of Pohnpei aboard the DeepSee submersible.

Senator Perpetua Konman and Tara Shaniah Arnold, a recent graduate from Sofia University, descended on a deep sea dive in Chuuk’s waters.

“Having the privilege to witness the ocean from the submersible was an honor. Observing our underwater environments up close reinforced the responsibility to protect our ocean. I am now more motivated than ever in my career path.”

- Tara Shaniah Arnold, Sofia University Global Environmental Studies graduate and Bill Raynor Micronesia Challenge Scholar


Image: Blue Prosperity Coalition partners gathered in Fiji.

Blue Prosperity Coalition’s Marine Spatial Planning Workshop

Members of the Blue Prosperity Coalition from more than ten states and nations worldwide convened in Nadi, Fiji for a week-long summit focused on collaboration to advance sustainable ocean management and Marine Spatial Planning. Participants worked to find innovative solutions to common challenges and identify opportunities for future collaboration and support.

“This workshop comes at a critical time for the Blue Prosperity Fiji programme. Our team has just concluded a successful ocean science expedition that will help us better understand the status of our ocean and marine resources. The results from this expedition combined with the stories and learnings from our partners at this workshop will greatly contribute to the future success of Blue Prosperity Fiji.”

- Arthur Sokimi, Blue Prosperity Fiji Country Manager

Fiji Natural Resource Owners Committee Gathers to Advance Sustainable Nearshore Management
Image: The Hon. Minister of iTaukei affairs, Ifereimi Vasu, and John Weber, Waitt Institute Director of Marine Spatial Planning meet at the workshop.

The Ministry of iTaukei Affairs Cultural Heritage and Arts, Natural Resource Owners Committee (NROC), and Blue Prosperity Fiji convened a workshop to discuss nearshore resource management. The workshop brought together natural resource owners including chiefs from all of the Provinces across Fiji, as well as government and non-governmental organizations to continue an open dialogue to advance the sustainable management of coastal marine resources.

Vanuatu Hosts Marine Spatial Planning Workshop to Safeguard Ocean Resources
Image: Toney Tevi, Ocean commissioner for the Government of Vanuatu, and Arthur Sokimi, Blue Prosperity Fiji Country Manager.

Members of Blue Prosperity Vanuatu and the Waitt Institute attended the Government of Vanuatu’s workshop to review the draft Marine Spatial Plan at Pele Island, Vanuatu. The MSP is a tool intended to preserve Vanuatu's marine spaces, promote cultural heritage, a sustainable Blue Economy, enhance marine ecosystems' health, and represent the interests of all stakeholders in the marine environment.

Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme Focus Groups
Image: Hon. Deputy Premier and Minister of Home Affairs, Walter H. Roban, addresses stakeholders during the most recent Focus Group session for the Blue Prosperity Plan. Photo by Emma Head.

The Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme recently hosted a focus group to share updates to the Marine Spatial Plan and Blue Economy Strategy that make up the Blue Prosperity Plan. Over the past year, extensive public and stakeholder feedback has been collected to better incorporate the needs of diverse ocean users into the latest draft.

Blue Prosperity Partners attend the Pacific Community’s (SPC) Inaugural Pacific Islands Conference on Ocean Science and Ocean Management
Image: Pacific Islands Conference, photo by Andrew Paris, Blue Prosperity Fiji Environment Coordinator.

Blue Prosperity partners attended the Inaugural Pacific Islands Conference on Ocean Science and Ocean Management hosted by SPC's Pacific Community Centre for Ocean Science. Themed "An Ocean of Knowledge for our Sea of Islands," this conference was a key step towards advancing the Pacific’s understanding of ocean dynamics and promoting sustainable ocean management.

Monika Lal
Blue Prosperity Fiji
Blue Economy Coordinator

Fae Sapsord
Bermuda Ocean Prosperity Programme
Communications Manager

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