Community Marine Monitoring Toolkit

“We assisted in designing the Toolkit to make sure that it answers what the community wants and also a way that the Department can use to analyse what is happening with the resources.”

Jeremie Kaltavara, Vanuatu Fisheries Department

“The Toolkit has been very helpful for us. Through the fish catch surveys, the community found that they were catching lots of very small fish. When we presented the results to the community, they understood them clearly.”

George Kalkuau, Efate Provincial Councillor, Tanoliu

“This helps to improve our food security by not overharvesting and manage our fish and shellfish stocks.”

Salome Kalo, Pele Island

Coastal habitats support marine plants and animals, including fish and shellfish. Many Pacific communities rely on their marine resources for food and income. Communities in the Pacific Islands have successfully managed and protected their coastal marine areas for hundreds of years. However, rapidly increasing human populations, along with disturbances like cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks, have increased pressure on marine resources. Climate change is exacerbating these pressures through thermal coral bleaching and more intense storms. This means that communities need to be able to monitor their marine environment so that they can identify and discuss issues with their leaders, manage their resources, and plan for change.

C2O Pacific has developed a Community Marine Monitoring Toolkit with support from SPC, FFEM, AFD, Experiment, MIMRA, WCS and SPREP. Toolkits are tailor-made in consultation with local communities and governments to meet location-specific needs. Following initial training on how to use the Toolkit using a train-the-trainer (champion) approach, communities can collect data on reef condition, fish catches, invertebrates, seagrass, mangroves and crown-of-thorns starfish, and use the results to inform local management. The Toolkit is a community-led approach that empowers communities to take control of local marine resource management through an inclusive and informed process.

The Toolkits are also designed to align with national policy and provide information that governments can use. The approach to data collection that is founded in science means that community-based monitoring can complement more technical scientific monitoring.

Benefits that communities have reported from using the Toolkit include:

  • Increased local awareness of coastal and marine issues
  • An early warning system to detect changes and impacts
  • Information to manage resources and understand if local actions are working
  • Instant results that can be shared and discussed in communities
  • Improved food security
  • New income opportunities, e.g. eco-tourism

C2O Pacific has worked with communities in Vanuatu and the Marshall Islands to develop tailored Toolkits that meet specific local needs. Work is currently in progress to deliver tailor-made Toolkits for:

  • French Polynesia
  • Solomon Islands
  • Wallis & Futuna
  • New Caledonia

Contact us to find out more about the Toolkit and how we can help tailor it to your location and train local communities.