The most important activity at MERIP is to transfer the technology we develop to local communities so they can use it. The purpose of our capacity building and training program is twofold – income generation and raising conservation awareness. At MERIP we work with many different communities and at many levels.
Pohnpei’s Marine Protected Area (MPA) Network
Since 1999, a network of rurally based communities have worked with the Pohnpei State Government and the Conservation Society of Pohnpei
(CSP) to establish no-take Marine Protected Areas (MPA’s) around Pohnpei. These communities have forsaken income from fishing in the MPA’s in order to preserve and enhance fish stocks for the future. CSP, the local governments and MERIP have partnered to develop sustainable alternative income projects for these communities to mitigate loss of income from fishing. Our main work in this area is teaching marine ornamental and sponge farming to MPA community members.
Pearl Farming and Jewelry Making
MERIP worked for many years with the community run Nukuoro Black Pearls farm and more recently with community-based pearl farms in Namdrik and Rongelap atolls in the Marshall Islands. Areas of focus have been grow-out and also pearl grading, jewelry making and marketing.
MERIP has worked closely with the College of the Marshall Islands
and College of Micronesia–FSM
in teaching and development of aquaculture and marine science courses. In addition, MERIP staff taught aquaculture and marine science to students of the Ponape Agriculture and Trade School before it closed in 2005.