Kimbe Bay, Papua New Guinea
Kimbe Bay, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea
Kimbe Bay is a large, well-defined bay (140km x 70 km in area) comprised of one of the world’s most diverse tropical marine environments, including shallow (coral reefs, mangroves, and seagrasses) and deepwater marine habitats (oceanic waters and seamounts) in close proximity. These diverse habitats are part of the global centre of marine biodiversity, the Coral Triangle, and are home to at least twelve species of marine mammals and other rare and threatened species. Additionally, Kimbe Bay’s inclusion of both shallow and deepwater habitats within close proximity to each other provides an ideal opportunity to protect a range of marine environments.
Like many coastal areas throughout the world, Kimbe Bay’s rich marine biodiversity is at risk from local threats such as overfishing, sedimentation, pollution, and increasing human populations. Additionally, global threats such as rising sea temperatures associated with climate change have already led to coral bleaching in the bay. Sea levels are also rising, threatening critical coastal habitats such as mangroves and turtle nesting areas.
The objectives of the Kimbe Bay MPA network are twofold: to conserve marine biodiversity and natural resources of the bay in perpetuity, and to address local marine resource management needs. The scientific design of the Kimbe Bay MPA network represents one of the world’s first MPA networks to specifically address the threat of climate change, and does so by incorporating the principles of resilience, including:
- spreading the risk through representation and replication;
- protecting special and unique sites (e.g. fish spawning sites, turtle nesting areas, nursery areas);
- incorporating patterns of connectivity; and,
- effective management.
Parallel to the scientific design that was carried out by TNC and partners and completed in 2006, the Conservancy also worked with the three local level governments within the Bay area to facilitate a process for them to create local legislation that would support the establishment of the Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA). The three Local Level Governments of Talasea, Hoskins and Bialla created the marine environment management and protection law in 2004, 2005 and 2006 respectively.
The Kimbe Bay project staff are now well into the implementation phase using a well defined community planning process as the basis for implementation. Key steps to this process include: community awareness and engagement, community envisioning, participatory conservation planning, community development of a LMMA plan and agreement, preparation of a draft LMMA plan and agreement and finally, stakeholder consultation and finalization of the plan and agreement. As of March, 2011, 8 communities have completed the community engagement process and have established LMMAs across various AOIs (areas of interest). Over 50 community members have been trained in conducting community biological monitoring and conflict management. Additionally, a group of community conservation champions have been trained to conduct the first step of the process, which is community awareness. This awareness has created better understanding on the concept of conservation through LMMAs for the local communities in these AOIs who are coming forward requesting TNC support in working with them to establish LMMAs.
The Conservancy’s new focus to work through and with partners meant project staff had to scope out and identify partner(s) who showed readiness to take over the implementation of the MPA design and work with communities to establish LMMA. The Conservancy’s role will be to train the key partners so that they can effectively lead this work. In April 2011 The Conservancy is entering into a new partnership to work with the Bialla LMMA Advisory Committee, a body that is provided for under the Bialla LLG Law to implement the community processes used by The Conservancy to work with communities to establish LMMAs. This partnership will also ensure integration of MPA/LMMA work into the existing government structures.
The Conservancy is also focusing on the establishment of a governance structure that will effectively and sustainably manage the Kimbe Bay Marine Management Area in perpetuity to ensure resource management, food security for local populations as well as reduction in the key threats. A steering committee is leading this process with key stakeholders, the provincial government, the three local level governments and the communities. The leadership by the steering committee has ensured more support to the Kimbe Bay Marine Management Area from the West New Britain provincial government through a financial support of K300,000. In January 2011, the provincial government purchased five banana boats that will be delivered to the first five LMMAs and will be used for enforcement and surveillance of the management areas.
The Conservancy will also work more closely with the Division of Fisheries in the province to integrate the principles of Ecosystem Approach to Fisheries Management in the already established LMMAs and other communities.
Values and Principles
The following values and principles are guiding the work being done in Kimbe Bay:
- Local communities have ownership and user rights of sea/reef areas and resources and will therefore take the lead in the sustainable management and protection of their marine resources. They are the resource owners and decision makers. TNC and partners will work according to their pace and understanding.
- The Talasea, Hoskins and Bialla Local Level Governments have created the necessary legal framework provided for under the marine environment management and protection laws. Any resource management undertaken with local communities must be done under this legal framework.
- TNC has learned that conservation with local communities and partners in PNG must promote resource management that supports community livelihoods. TNC will therefore continue to explore new partnerships that support sustainable livelihoods based on effective resource management.
- Respect for people, cultures and communities and their customs and traditions is a PNG value as well as a TNC value that we will continue to uphold.
- TNC will uphold the Christian values of stewardship, sharing our knowledge and resources for the care and protection of important resources that our people depend on for food, income and cultural activities.
- TNC promotes unity, working together for the good of all as did our forefathers, and will share the fruits of our labors through cultural celebrations and activities that promote harmony, peace and unity.
- TNC will embrace scientific knowledge, expertise, and partner support that enhances resource management for the betterment of people and communities.
- It is important to take implementation into account when designing the MPA network, and to identify effective strategies for engaging stakeholders in the process.
- Marine reserve software (MARXAN) is an excellent tool for processing large amounts of information for MPA network design; but it is important to remember that it is a decision support tool and not a decision maker.
- The minimum amount of information required to complete a scientific design of an MPA network is the location of conservation targets, threats and opportunities.
- A multidisciplinary team is required, including scientific experts, a GIS specialist, local managers, and representatives who can contribute local knowledge, and who have a clear understanding of the culture, needs, and interests of local communities and other stakeholders.
- The costs were relatively low compared to costs expected for developed countries; however, it takes a minimum of five to seven years for design and implementation.
For more information on the details of this process, specifically the ways in which resilience principles were incorporated, please feel free to contact us or see the complete report referenced below.
- The Nature Conservancy
- David and Lucile Packard Foundation
- GCP (Global Conservation Program), US government
- Bismarck Packard
- Marisla Foundation
- Private donors
The Nature Conservancy
Kimbe Bay Project Office
P.O. Box 267
Kimbe Bay, West New Britain
Papua New Guinea
The Nature Conservancy
Indo-Pacific Resource Center
51 Edmondstone Street
South Brisbane QLD 4101
- PNG National Government
- The West New Britain provincial government
- Talasea Local Level Government
- Hoskins Local Level Government
- Bialla Local Level Government
- Local Communities of Kimbe Bay
- U.S. Agency for International Development
- Scientific Design of a Resilient Network of Marine Protected Areas, Kimbe Bay, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea: Executive Summary
- Scientific Design of a Resilient Network of Marine Protected Areas, Kimbe Bay, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea: Complete Report
- Kimbe Bay MPA Scientific Workshop Report
- Village-Based Marine Resource Use and Rural Livelihoods: Kimbe Bay, West New Britain, Papua New Guinea