Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community
What is the Pacific Islands Marine Protected Area Community?
The Pacific Islands Marine Protected Areas Community (PIMPAC) is a collaboration of marine protected area (MPA) managers, non-governmental organizations, local communities, federal, state, and territorial agencies, and other stakeholders working together to collectively enhance the effective use and management of MPAs in the U.S. Pacific Islands and Freely Associated States. Specifically, PIMPAC aims to build partnerships among Pacific Island MPA practitioners and to bring support to the region in order to strengthen MPA planning, management, and evaluation efforts and conserving the marine resources of the Pacific Islands.
History of PIMPAC
PIMPAC grew out of an August 2005 workshop of over 45 marine protected area (MPA) leaders from around the Pacific Islands. The workshop, held in Tumon, Guam and co-hosted by NOAA and the University of Guam, brought together governmental and non-governmental representatives from the U.S. Pacific Islands, Freely Associated States of the Pacific, and Fiji to discuss the strengths and challenges of MPAs in the Pacific Islands.
The Pacific Islands have a long history of traditional management approaches for marine resources—many of which may provide solutions to today’s management challenges. However, the MPAs in the Pacific Islands have their own unique set of challenges which have inhibited them from being as effective as possible.
Despite the wealth of knowledge the Pacific Islands’ traditional approaches can offer, MPA managers in the Pacific must balance building on these traditional approaches while adapting to modern technology and practices. To play a successful role in MPA management, traditional and local approaches must be actively fostered, developed, and integrated into current MPA systems.
In addition, MPA managers in the Pacific are often very isolated from one another due to the great distances between islands. The geographical distance makes it very difficult for them to share knowledge and lessons learned with each other. Also, because the Pacific Islands are small, they have limited human and financial resources to work with.
To address these challenges, the meeting participants shared a common vision for a regional coordination network that would strengthen their individual and collective MPA efforts. The group committed to work together in an evolving regional Pacific Islands MPA Community (PIMPAC) to overcome these barriers.
Priorities and Activities
During PIMPAC's inaugural meeting in August 2005, working groups identified the following priorities to improve the effectiveness of Pacific Island marine protected areas (MPAs):
The Pacific Islands Marine Protected Area Community (PIMPAC) is focusing on improving training for marine protected areas (MPA) management planning. As part of this effort, the network has developed a training module on how to develop an MPA and management plan. The training module is being used to conduct local workshops at several locations throughout the Pacific to assist local non-governmental organizations and community groups develop MPAs.
PIMPAC is also facilitating two to three exchange visits between Pacific Island MPA managers to promote peer to peer learning. In addition, PIMPAC is partnering with the regional academic institution to develop college-level curriculum around MPA management. This partnership will also support internships for college students within two island jurisdictions to assist with MPA activities.
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