A blog maintained by Tevita Kete, PGR Officer
Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), Suva, Fiji Islands
This weblog documents the activities of Pacific Agricultural Genetic Resources Network (PAPGREN), along with other information on plant genetic resources (PGR) in the Pacific.
The myriad varieties found within cultivated plants are fundamental to the present and future productivity of agriculture. PAPGREN, which is coordinated by the Land Resources Division of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), helps Pacific countries and territories to conserve their crop genetic diversity sustainably, with technical assistance from the Bioversity International (BI) and support from NZAID and ACIAR.
SPC also hosts the Centre of Pacific Crops and Trees (CEPaCT). The CEPaCT maintains regional in vitro collections of crops important to the Pacific and carries out research on tissue culture technology. The CEPaCT Adviser is Dr Mary Taylor (MaryT@spc.int), the CEPaCT Curator is Ms Valerie Tuia (ValerieT@spc.int).
PAPGREN coordination and support
Mr William Wigmore
Mr Adelino S. Lorens
Dr Lois Englberger
Mr Apisai Ucuboi
Dr Maurice Wong
Mr Tianeti Beenna Ioane
Mr Frederick Muller
Mr Herman Francisco
Ms Rosa Kambuou
Ms Laisene Samuelu
Mr Jimi Saelea
Mr Tony Jansen
Mr Finao Pole
Mr Frazer Bule Lehi
Interested in GIS?
Tuesday, August 04, 2009
Posted 2:29 PM by Tevita
Coconut Crab Conservation in Vanuatu
From : http://www.whl.travel/blog/?p=1291
In April 2001, John and Silvana Nicholls, today owners and operators of Vanuatu Hotels, arrived in Vanuatu to launch and manage the new White Grass Ocean Resort on the island of Tanna. It was their intention to ensure that it would operate according to strict environmental guidelines, so they immediately declared it a bird sanctuary, protecting fowl from the indigenous practice of hunting and eating them. Although a parallel ‘turtle emergency rescue’ program of buying turtles captured by locals as a step in saving them from the cooking pot unfortunately had to be discontinued as it created a new industry – the
capture of released turtles in order to sell them back – the resort nevertheless became the island’s de facto animal refuge, even providing veterinary assistance when need.
As part of their efforts, the Nicholls’ also banned coconut crab from their menu (see more information), a practical step in helping to building the first and only coconut crab habitat in Vanuatu.
“Instead of eating them, our guests could handle and photograph living crabs. The kids had a ball seeing, touching and hand-feeding these awesome creatures, which are coloured in beautiful greens and blues, rather than seeing them cooked red,” said John. “In order to immediately sensitise people to the unique, fun eco-experience in store for resort guests, I sometimes welcomed them with a giant coconut crab… a live one, that is!”
Although their efforts initially made little impact, and maintaining the habitat was no easy task – these largest land-living crustacean can cut themselves out of any corner with their powerful claws and easily climb any surface, like the coconut trees from which they take their name – John and Silvana persisted.
“When travelling to the capital, Port Vila, we were appalled to see coconut crabs sold in restaurants,” confirmed John. “The irony of it is that they are actually quite bland in flavour, hence inevitably covered with strong sauces to make them interesting to eat. There was quite a trade in coconut crabs and we knew this was not sustainable, as numbers were dwindling fast. When we contacted a few experts on the subject, our fears were confirmed: there was a real problem.”
Predictions were that if coconut crab consumption could not be curbed, a number of islands in Vanuatu would feast them into extinction. The problem was not specific to the resort’s island of Tanna; it was true of many other islands as well.
A White Grass Ocean Resort turtle emergency rescue program of buying turtles captured by locals had to be discontinued when released turtles were captured and sold back to the resort
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