Pohnpei, Ant Atoll & Pakin Atoll – 2016
Dates: July 28- Aug 13, 2016
Divers: Dr. Stuart Sandin, Dr. Brian Zgliczynski, Zach Caldwell
Lead Organization: OneReef, Scripps Institution of Oceanography
Collaborators: Conservation Society of Pohnpei, The Nature Conservancy
Protection Status: As of 2009, the Ant Atoll Management Planning Team had submitted conservation and management plans to create a biosphere reserve on Ant. In the past, permission from the Rohsa (traditional leader) was required to fish on Ant. Rhosa is a traditional title reserved only for members of the Nahnpei family, the landowners of Ant. However, this tradition has weakened over time and currently no members of the Nahnpei family are living on Ant to enforce this rule.
Pohnpei and the other FSM states have two agencies responsibility for marine management – the Marine Resources Management office and Environmental Protection Agency office. Other agencies involved in assessment and monitoring include the College of Micronesia-FSM, The Nature Conservancy and the Conservation Society of Pohnpei (CSP).
Ant Atoll is believed to be a sacred fishing location, also known as the Island of the Dead, where spirits are banished. It is thought that Ant has had a fluctuating population since 800 A.D., used in part to produce copra from the 1800’s through the early 1970’s. Although Ant is not currently inhabited, it is still frequented by hunters, fishermen, recreational divers, and weekend picnickers. Since many of Pohnpei’s fish stocks are depleted, particularly in the lagoon region, encroachment on Ant is increasingly common to maintain catch.