The ultimate aim of CSP’s Marine Program is to assist the Pohnpei State Government, the municipal governments, and the local communities in developing sound management for all of the inshore habitats and resources within state waters. Currently, the program’s main focus is the creation, management, and monitoring of the Marine Protected Area (MPA) network, including Grouper Spawning and Aggregation (SPAG); fish and coral monitoring; and community outreach and involvement.
Fish, Coral & Water Quality Monitoring
CSP monitors and records the current state of Pohnpei’s fish populations, coral reef, and sediment build-up in order to keep track of positive and negative changes over time. In partnership with the community, CSP conducts fish monitoring in the five MPAs. Monitoring fish populations measures the effectiveness of the MPAs management systems and occurs bi-monthly in and around the MPAs in order to show significant changes that occur over time. The fish counts can be used to prove if fish stocks are increasing or decreasing both inside and outside of the MPAs. The monitoring focuses on three of the preferred local market fish families – Scaridae (Parrotfish), Lethrinidae (Emperors), and Siganidae (Rabbitfish).
CSP currently monitors the coral in three MPAs, including Dehpehk, Dekehos, and Sapwtik to determine yearly changes in the coral community due to environmental and physical factors. The monitoring of the exterior coral serves as a control to determine the factors that are changing the reef composition.
Another factor for a healthy coral environment is water quality. CSP regularly measures the amount of sediment in the water. Coral sedimentation monitoring occurs in the Lenger MPA, as well as in reefs adjacent to sand mining operations. All samples are collected and dried, and the weight is recorded. The resulting data is plotted to determine sediment load throughout the year.