An Outlook Report on the State of the Marine Biodiversity in the Pacific Islands Region is now available. The report provides a clear overview of key areas of the marine ecosystems contained within a combined Regional EEZ of approximately 29 million km2.
Major marine environmental issues identified in the Pacific islands region include impacts from environmental change, habitat loss and the effects of coastal modification, invasive species, fishing pressure as well as land and based marine pollution.
The Pacific islands report provides a summary of pressures, state and responses to these threats for the Pacific Islands region as well as the responses by our Pacific islands countries and territories.
Published by the Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SREP), it is hoped that by identifying a common set of indicators in this report we could see the replication of positive responses and approaches utilised by different regions in addressing these issues.
"The report has been prepared by SPREP for the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre as part of a global assessment by the UNEP Regional Seas Programme. It is a very concise overview of the available data on a number of indicators that reflect the current state of regional marine biodiversity," said Stuart Chape, Programme Manager - Island Ecosystems, SPREP.
"It looks at the pressures on our marine biodiversity, the current state of key areas and the response that is being undertaken at all levels – in our community as well as on a national and regional level."
The report concludes that the lack of human, technical, institutional and financial capacity in the Pacific Island Countries and Territories is a key factor in environmental management. Lack of capacity leads to poor monitoring and highlights the need to build capacity and provide appropriate resources and funding for data collection, management and analysis for environmental monitoring in the Pacific Islands region.
"The 2010–2015 SPREP Strategic Plan identifies Environmental Monitoring as a strategic priority for SPREP and the region over the next five years," said Mr Chape.
"We are aware of the importance of marine biodiversity to the Pacific way of life, including livelihoods. In order for SPREP to strengthen the role of Environmental Monitoring in our region, securing appropriate funding and other resources are top priority."
The contents of the report include a chapter on "Pressures" which covers Fish Stocks, Nutrient Loading, Port Activity, Sea Surface Temperature and CO2 Flux. The second chapter on State encompasses information on Mean Trophic Index, Marine Fauna – Red List and Acidification. The responses to these issues lies in the Chapter on Response which covers the Fish Stock Agreements, Global Programme of Action (GPA) Implementation, National Adaptation Programmes of Action for Climate Change, Marine Protected Area establishment and Ballast Water Regulations.