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Dialogue on sustaining coral reefs and coastal fisheries to be held in Apia

The Pacific Islands Climate Services Dialogue — Sustaining Coral Reefs and Coastal Fisheries: Outlooks and Scenarios — will be held in Apia, Samoa on July 30-31.


(The first of the two Pacific Islands Climate Services Dialogue, entitled “Preserving Freshwater Resources and Minimizing the Impacts of Drought” is scheduled for July 17 and 18 at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center in Utulei).


During the third media coffee chat held at the Tauese P.F. Sunia Ocean Center on Monday, Marine Operations Coordinator for the National Marine Sanctuary of American Samoa, Lt. Charlene Felkley explained that the U.S. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), through the U.S. Agency for International Development (USAID), along with regional partners, is conducting a series of activities to build scientific understanding to support climate change adaptation in the Pacific Islands.


According to the event announcement sent to Samoa News, the activities will include services that focus on climate issues critical to the region and that address unique user needs. “Sustaining coral reefs and coastal fisheries in the face of a changing climate has been identified as an issue of concern for communities across the Pacific,” said the announcement.


An information sharing dialogue to be held in Apia, Samoa, hosted by the Secretariat for Pacific Regional Environment Program, will bring together coral reef, fisheries, and other natural resource managers, climate experts, community outreach specialists, and decision makers from Samoa, American Samoa, Tonga, and other Pacific Islands to address several objectives including:


•            Raising understanding and awareness of our knowledge of climate science, impacts to coral reefs and coastal fisheries, and community‐based adaptation;


•            Sharing available climate and weather products and services to support climate adaptation planning, resource management, disaster risk management, and sustainable development;


•            Exploring best practices to sustain coral reefs and coastal fisheries through the development of community climate case studies, which combine experiential, traditional and scientific knowledge; and


•            Exploring and learn about seasonal climate‐related information—this includes placing current observations and forecasts into a local context and making it easier to use by managers and fishermen.


The announcement says, “This dialogue will build on and support ongoing efforts in the region such as the Two Samoa’s Environmental Collaboration, village resilience outreach and adaptation planning, climate policy and strategy development, and coral assessment and rapid response plans.”


During the planned two days of dialogue, “we will focus on building community climate case studies to illustrate, identify, and share best practices for coral reef and coastal fisheries management and how these practices address vulnerabilities.” In addition, focus will also be placed on a coral reef‐related forecast dashboard, a mechanism to improve awareness for coral reef and other resource managers, and community users.


“These discussions will also explore past impacts of El Niño and identify actions that can be taken by communities to prepare for future impacts.”


Lastly, “in all discussions, local, regional and international knowledge and NOAA technical support will be integrated to generate accurate, timely and regionally relevant products to inform decisions to minimize the climate‐related impacts to coral reefs and fisheries. Product users will be better informed about the impacts of climate variability and change, and as a result, be able to make more informed decisions. The product developers will be better informed about what problems and questions are most relevant and, as a result, are better able to match products and services to user requirements.”


Lt. Felkley said it is important that everyone learns about our resources, how to use them wisely, and finding ways to preserve them for the future.