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Vuki, V.C.; Appana, S.; Naqasima, M.R.; Vuki, M. (2000). Vanuatu, in: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. pp. 737-749
In: Sheppard, C.R.C. (Ed.) (2000). Seas at the millennium: an environmental evaluation: 2. Regional chapters: The Indian Ocean to The Pacific. Pergamon: Amsterdam. ISBN 0-08-043207-7. XXI, 920 pp., more

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Document type: Review


Authors  Top 
  • Vuki, V.C.
  • Appana, S.
  • Naqasima, M.R.
  • Vuki, M.

    This chapter reviews and assesses the condition of the marine environment in Vanuatu mainly from unpublished sources. It is in generall'( very good condition. Howeve~, severe damage from cyclones and crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks have caused consIderable damage to reefs in recent years, and reefs near major population centres show signs of degradation. Some reefs are threatened by increased siltation from logging in catchment areas, nutrient enrichment from sewage pollution and from over-exploitation of reef fish. Sewage disposal, domestic and solid wastes are serious environmental concerns in urban areas and, as a result, water quality is generally poor. There are generally no refuse dumps in many rural areas, and beaches, streams and lagoons are heavily littered. Industrial marine pollutant loadings appear to be increasing. Trochus, green snails and land crabs (Birgus latro) have declined because of high rates of exploitation and the giant Clam, Tridacna gigas, has been driven into extinction through excessive harvesting in Vanuatu. Turtles and dugongs are endangered and are sensitive to over-hunting. The huge leatherback turtle which also occurs here is threatened with extinction because of egg collection. Seabirds have also been significantly depleted through egg collection at rookeries and through disturbance of nesting sites through clearing. There is limited management of the marine environment in Vanuatu and very little environ- mental awareness, technical or financial resources for this. Recent marine awareness-raising through workshops, drama, radio broadcasts has been successful in establishing community- based marine sanctuaries for replenishing overfished trochus and giant clams. Some village- based fishing restrictions on fishing methods, fishing ground closures and size restrictions have been initiated and implemented. But there is generally a lack of finances and technical expertise to support monitoring programmes or to implement and enforce legislation and policies pertaining to the marine environment. Vanuatu has declared a moderate number of marine protected areas (MPA) but the involvement of customary fishing right owners is integral to the success of MPAs in Vanuatu. These MPAs are an important strategy to conserve marine biodiversity in the absence of scientific knowledge and monitoring.

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