Plans to protect environment launched

The Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment and Aleipata District village mayors and representatives have launched the Aleipata District Marine Protected Area Management Plan and the Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan.

The two plans for the villages of Poutasi, Vaovai and Lotopu’e-Malaela were launched on Tuesday night at the Tanoa Hotel, according to a media statement issued by the M.N.R.E.

The plans are a result of a sub-project funded by the World Bank’s Pilot Programme for Climate Resilience Project, and aims to enhance Samoa’s coastal marine environment’s ecological resilience to withstand the impact of climate change. 

The projects are being rolled out by the Government of Samoa through the M.N.R.E.

The four management plans are Aleipata Districts Marine Protected Area Management Plan (Aleipata) 2020-2025, Poutasi Mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan (Falealili) 2020-2025, Vaovai mangrove Ecosystem Management Plan (Falealili) 2020-2025 and the Lotopue-Malaela Ecosystem Mangrove Management Plan (Aleipata) 2020-2025.

The management plans describe the intent of the communities and the Government to conserve, protect, sustainably manage, and develop marine protected areas and mangrove ecosystems. 

The plans have management measures, rules, and activities that communities have approved and committed to implement to address the current problems faced within their marine and mangrove environment, and are the result of various consultations with the communities and baseline assessments of their marine and mangrove environment. 

The problems identified include destructive fishing methods, pollution, land reclamation, invasive species, and climate change, to name a few.  

The M.N.R.E. said in its media statement that it is essential to address these problems, given the communities' dependence on the marine and mangrove environment for sustenance and income.

As well as the crucial role that the marine and mangrove environment play in protecting coastlines from strong waves, they are also breeding grounds for various species and enhance biological diversity. 

The village mayor of Lalomanu, Tapagaia Taupega told the Samoa Observer on Tuesday that he is happy with the management plans and added that this is not new to their district and that there was also a previous one.

He also thanked the M.N.R.E. for the launch of the management plans and emphasised that the Aleipata District and the village of Satitoa will maintain and protect their marine environment.

The development of the plans were successfully realised through the efforts of MNRE and its partners the Ministry of Women, Community and Social Development, the Ministry of Finance and the Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries with the financial support of the World Bank that funded the project.

The Government through the M.N.R.E. will be working closely with the communities in implementation of the plans over the next five years.

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