Two locally marine managed areas (LMMAs) – Zinoa Marine Conservation area and Taqu Marine Conservation area came together for the first-time to celebrate the World Oceans Day on the 8th of June 2022 at Voza community, Northwest Choiseul Province.
The World Oceans Day is a worldwide initiative by the United Nations to spread knowledge and awareness about the vast expanse of oceans on Earth. With the theme for World Oceans Day 2022, ‘Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean,’ the two LMMAs came together to mark this day with the theme, ‘Together let’s strengthen our effort to protect and conserve our marine resources’. The theme was chosen to highlight and redirect communities to focus on the importance of the ocean and the idea of preserving all life forms and coral reefs that are part of the ocean. More so, since 98% of the Solomon Islands is ocean, with only 2% land.
The Guest of Honor for the event was the Provincial Member for Tepazaka ward and Minister for Fisheries, Honorable Raphael Seko. Hon Seko stated that According to the Choiseul Provincial Government Mid-term Plan 2022-2025, the Vision is “A developing, resourceful and peaceful Province” and the Mission Statement is “A provincial Government that supports peaceful harmonies and progressive developments in partnership with stakeholders that enhances and protects our culture, environment, social and spiritual wellbeing”.
He also highlighted the threats and challenges to our ocean, but encouraged everyone to continue the good work to ensure our marine resources are used sustainably and well managed.
A church representative, Rev. Ivan Saevo also highlighted the importance of marine resources and the collective efforts that all humans must be responsible to take good care and be a good ocean stewards.
Mr Kimata, a community representative also elaborated that revitalizing the ocean needed intervention in all aspect of our lives.
Activities organized to celebrate the event included – coloring of marine resources for children, allowing them to showcase their creativity and sharing facts about their favorite marine resources and their habitats.
In addition, the youths joined together in a clean-up drive along the coastal beaches and also did awareness on waste disposal, especially plastics and their impacts to the ocean. Women participated in showcasing different types of marine lives that are of importance to their daily life. One of the highlight for the women is showcasing a shell called ‘Zeqe’ in Choiseul dialect, a shell that is used to clean taro and corals used to produce lime. The activities, which the community participated in during the World Oceans Day event, reminded them of the importance of ocean to them.
Voza community further celebrated the event with dancing and bamboo band music played by the children of Voza community and entertainments by Taqu LLMA dancers to mark this very important day.
On the closing of the event celebration, the Secretary of Lauru Land Conference of Tribal Community (LLCTC), Mr Maclean Biliki urged communities around Choiseul and Solomon Islands to see the ocean and land as sources of life in the way we perceive what we can do to maintain the health of our ocean and land. He concluded that the world labeled Solomon Islands as “The small island nations,” but we should call ourselves “The big oceans nations.”
It was a very successful one-day event celebration with the support from the New Zealand aid Mekem Strong Solomon Islands Fisheries (MSSIF) program providing funds through the Fisheries Division of Choiseul Province and The Nature Conservancy (TNC), Solomon Islands.
–The Nature Conservancy (TNC)-Solomon Islands/MFMR Joint Press