By JASON GIMA WURI
CONSERVATION efforts and climate change adaptation measures taken up by the people of Mbuke and Wal islands in Manus has impressed a media team who made a field trip to the islands over the weekend.
Mbuke and Wal islands, located three hours southwest of Lorengau town, are marine conservation sites which are now taking food security measures seriously as a result of the El Nino season and the continuous threats from climate change effects.
The media team comprises three journalists and four UPNG students.
The trip is part of the Sea Series course coordinated over a period of six months since June by Sea Web International.
The field trip was made possible with the support from World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) and Mbuke Island People Association (MIPA).
WWF representative Selarn Kaluwin was at hand to accompany the team to the areas of interest.
According to SeaWeb programme associate Francis Gabriel, the trip was a pragmatic approach to what has been learnt in the classroom.
“By visiting conservation sites gives a better understanding of the purpose of protecting marine resources, challenges communities face and the progresses they’ve made so far.
“The trip also sets the stage for greater interaction with local communities as well as greater exposure of what is happening on the ground,” Gabriel said.
The media team paid a visit to conservation sites or tambu areas in Mbuke and Wal and was impressed to learn how they were benefiting the communities.
For instance, there had been an increase in fish stocks and sea cucumber among others.
And also, for a community who depended on lime trade as a income earner, has put in place measures in controlling the harvest of corals.
A three-month closure after the harvest is currently in place.
“The people are aware of issues affecting them and impressively coming up with self-reliant adaptation measures,” UPNG final year journalism student Mary Tulasoi said, adding that “the success of the projects in Mbuke and Wal goes to show how organised they are”.
The communities of Mbuke and Wal are also planting drought-resistant crops such as Trobriand yam, ice corn, cassava and sweet potato, a project supported by PNG Sustainable Development Program and NARI, as a climate change adaptation measure to food security.
A visit to the food plots showed that the crops were growing well despite the current dry spell in Manus.
The team will visit Soheneriu today, an inland community who are taking steps in addressing impacts of climate change.