A significant number of marine species are known occur in the waters between Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands. Local fishing communities rely on the region for culture, sustenance and livelihoods. The passages between the region's many islands may be important migratory corridors for a number of species. Regional and local environmental threats impacting both the local fishing communities and the wildlife migrations near key island passages include noise disturbance, marine pollution, and destructive fishing practices by distant water industrial fishing fleets.
Papua New Guinea and the Solomon Islands have made international commitments to address these issues under the Convention on Migratory Species of Wild Animals (CMS), Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES), the Convention on Biological Diversity (CBD) and the Framework Convention on Climate Change (FCCC), but both Governments need support to implement tangible management measures. Building the capacity of local civil society is one way to provide sustainable and perpetual support.
The temperature and marine acidification conditions projected by researchers indicate that corals and coral reefs will be severely stressed by the end of the century, and that phase shifts to algal-dominated reefs are likely throughout Melanesia. Fishers and fishing-based human communities in Melanesia are often heavily dependent upon reef resources associated directly or indirectly with corals. A loss of coral reef structure will decrease availability of fish habitat and shelter. These physical factors, which are driven by global-scale processes, will be significantly exacerbated by other extrinsic (pollution, land-use practices leading to sedimentation, and physical destruction such as coral mining, dredging) and intrinsic factors (over-exploitation of the resource base, cyanide fishing, etc.), and the interaction with climate change and acidification will increase vulnerability and risk. Ocean acidification may also negatively affect fish in their larval stages, impacting fish abundance on reefs and related systems.
To help avert serious impacts on marine ecosystems, researchers have recommended:
1) increased attention to protecting critical watersheds;
2) decreasing sediment discharge and marine pollution; and
3) establishing marine conservation strategies that protect large areas of high diversity, habitat heterogeneity and connectivity.
Wild Migration Programme Goal
Wild Migration strives for a future where local communities are the guradians of the Solomon Sea, and migraoptry marine specieis including dolphins, whales, dugong and sharks are recongised and protected as indicators of ecosystem health in the region.
Wild Migration Policy Targets
Wild Migration will seek to secure a regional commitment between Governments and local communities to coordinate existing and new initiatives for marine conservation in the Solomon and Bismarck Seas, under a community driven Solomon Sea Wildlife Corridor Management Plan that is responsive to the pressing and critical need, while focusing solutions on the tangible and visible wildlife that are co-dependant on this marine ecosystem. The foundation of this work will be a highly collaborative and participatory process that harnesses community knowledge and experience, securing livelihoods and biocultural diversity as well as the biodiversity of this region.
Once the Solomon and Bismarck Sea Wildlife Corridor Management Plan has been established, Wild Migration will continue to work with the civil society participants and both Governments to support monitoring and formal reporting of progress back through the international CMS, CITES, CBD, FCCC processes, including the National Biodiversity Strategies and Action Plans (NBSAPs) and National Adaptation Programmes of Action (NAPAs).