Villagers of Moataa participated in a training programme to learn how to implement, enforce and monitor their Mangrove Management Plan (M.M.P.) and their newly constructed mangrove walkway.
The training is part of the Moataa Mangrove Ecosystem Management Planning and Sustainable Community Walkway Project funded by United Nations Development Programme G.E.F.-S.G.P. and Samoa Civil Society Support Program.
A press statement highlighted this Management Plan is produced from a Biodiversity Audit of the mangrove area that was undertaken in November 2013 by O Le Siosiomaga Society Inc. (O.L.S.S.I.) and the Mangrove Management Plan was prepared by the same consultants in November 2017.
The training on the use of the M.M.P. was conducted by Joyce Samuelu-Ah Leong, a Marine and Fisheries Specialist also from Moataa village.
An implementation guide/manual will be prepared and presented to the Moataa Village Council of Chiefs to endorse.
An output of this training is the setting up of a M.M.P. Committee to be selected by the Village Council that will be made responsible for the implementation of recommended actions to address key priorities identified by the villagers to protect the mangroves and their livelihoods, the statement said.
“The main problems experienced at the mangrove wetland area are related to pollution from solid waste and wastewater, flooding and erosion of family lands, contamination from vehicle mechanic and laundromat operations, and the maintenance and care of the new walkway.
“The Plan identifies actions such as retaining/protective walls, mangrove replanting, mangrove cleaning programme, protection of zone beside the mangroves from developments, eco-tourism developments, rubbish bins and proper signage, promote the use of plastic/P.V.C. or fiberglass septic tanks for families living near the wetland as well as imposing fines on people who do not comply with the M.M.P.
“The M.M.P. will be enforced by the Village Council in order to protect the wetland from cutting of mangroves, littering, water pollution from wastewater and other hazardous substances, reclamation and unsustainable fishing practices,” the statement said.
The M.M.P. is a guiding document for the village of Moataa to ensure the preservation of their mangroves in balance with social and economic needs of its people, it added.