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Thursday, November 11, 2010

Makata's Brief Background

The Mas Kagin Tapani group (henceforth Makata) is a new initiative, formed by pro-environmental justice individuals, indigenous tribal peoples whose beaches the sea turtles visit to nest, community facilitators, advisory board and volunteers of the Sea Turtle Restoration Project in the Western Pacific region in 2009.
Mas Kagin Tapani means Sea Guardians in the local Bel or Takia languages in the Madang Province, Papua New Guinea(PNG). Makata is a new and exciting organization established to formally recognise what we have been doing since June 2006 to protect and restore the declining population of the critically endangered leatherback turtles or (Dermochelys Coriacea). It is also aimed at supporting our campaigns made to stop sea bed mining and sea tailings disposal in the Bismarck Solomon Seas.
The establishment of Makata emanates from the need to sustain the Sea Turtle Restoration Project (STRP) in the Western Pacific region from the Turtle Island Restoration Network based in California USA as a local NGO.
We aim to continue our current programs in working with coastal and island communities in the Bismarck Solomon Seas to restore and protect the critically endangered leatherback turtles, other endangered marine turtles and incorporate new goals and objectives based on community needs.
This initiative was initially started in June 2006 by the Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN), a nonprofit organization incorporated in California with the aim to manage its Western Pacific’s sea turtle population. TIRN's support ended in December 2009.
This initiative has seen the communities of Karkum, Mirap, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi in the north coast area of Madang and villages along the south coast of Madang have shown keen interest in protecting and restoring their turtle population. Villagers in the outer islands have also expressed concerns on the sea bed mining venture by Nautilus and partners as well as the dumping of waste into the sea by the operator of the nickel and cobalt mine at Basamuk bay also in Madang province, and have supported our actions to campaign against irresponsible mining and large scale industrial developments whilst calling on them to take heed of their social responsibility and environmental justice obligations.
There are other environmental, economic, cultural and social issues surrounding other developments that have and will continue to impact the marine biodiversity, marine habitat and the livelihood of those who depend on it that demands representation both at the local, national and international level so that the voice of these voiceless and in most cases less fortunate, indigenous tribal peoples are heard.
But in order for us to represent these marginalized group of people our group needs logistical support, resources, funding and effective partnership with like-minded individuals, philanthropists, and organizations to make sure our efforts bear fruit through education, empowerment, and entrepreneurship. It is therefore very crucial at this point for us to secure potential funding from alternative sources to sustain our programs.
We have facilitated educational awareness programs, media campaigns, community development trainings, resource mapping, boundary surveys and assisted communities of Karkum, Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem, and Kimadi in the north coast. With funding support we intend to extend these services to Mur, Baru, Sel and other villages in Rai coast of Madang to establish their locally managed marine areas (LMMAs). (See Project Map ). These campaign initiatives were aimed at establishing LMMAs using Conservation Deeds.
This initiative has seen Karkum village celebrated the launching of its Conservation Deed in 2008 after two years of campaign efforts by our team of volunteers and community facilitators. (See Karkum Conservation Deed) and See Media Article in in ( under campaigns).
We believe that an informed and educated community will take active roles and be prudent guardians of their resources.
We need funding to continue our patrols to Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi with the aim of enabling these communities to establish their LMMAs using conservation deeds. These villages are now in the process of establishing conservation deeds through which they promise to protect sea turtles and their resources for 5 years.
We will continue trainings on other development and environmental issues affecting communities in order to motivate them to protect and use their resources to improve their lives.
These communities have so far been able to protect turtles that have come to nest on their beaches since we initiated the sea turtle restoration project. With funding support from TIRN, we were also able to conduct a turtle training in 2009. The communities we work with have asked us to conduct further trainings on turtles and marine eco-systems, community based capacity building exercises and cottage industry entrepreneurial skills . In order to fulfill these requests we need additional funding.
Our training exercises aim to give resource owners basic skills to tag and monitor the turtles and keep a record of the turtles that come to nest on their beaches. It also enables them to tap into spin-off economic enterprises that will enable them to improve their living standard.
One positive story resulting from our project is that of the Karkum community. With the basic skills acquired from our ongoing capacity building exercises, Karkum villagers have started conducting turtle tagging and monitoring exercises since 2009. In 2010 they have supplied data to the South Pacific Regional Environment Program (SPREP) and have benefited from local and international tourists. World Bank, PNG has also donated library books to them after reading about their initiative to protect and restore the turtle population. The Australian High Commissioner to PNG, Mr Ian Kemish has also visited the community and supported them with a substantial financial aid. The villagers at Dibor have also been fortunate to receive donation of library books from Cathy Edmund's and her reading club from the Port Moresby International School.
We will continue to be responsible for the successful transformation of the mindset and attitude of villagers towards preserving the leatherback turtle species and all other species that face the threat of extinction in the Bismarck Solomon Seas.
We plan to extend to Rai Coast, Bogia, Karkar, Bagabag and Long Islands in Madang depending on funding support from donor agencies and through its own fund raising drives. We also recognize huge leatherback nesting sites in South New Britain and in Bougainville and have expressed interest to extend our programs there if invited by resource owners.
In addition to the turtle conservation efforts, we continue to assist coastal communities in the region to address the issue of sea bed mining and sea tailing disposals, over harvesting of tuna species, address climate change issues and all other related issues. We have helped sponsored a full page advertisement for the Bagabag Islanders in opposing sea bed mining and will continue to do so for other indigenous tribal peoples seeking our assistance.
We will continue to use the media to support the fight for these indigenous tribal communities and to amplify their concerns to speak out on these issues.
It is our aim to give opportunity to the indigenous peoples along the coastline and islands of Bismarck Solomon Seas to protect and restore the declining turtle populations especially that of the critically endangered leatherback turtles, and to address all other issues affecting their lives and their marine resources. We see the plight of these species not only as single species environmental tragedies that need immediate attention, but as a vehicle for shifting the paradigm of how the human species views its relationships with the natural world.
While a key part of our work is to protect sea turtles, we grapple with root causes of threats to their existence, which often leads us to address global and community issues beyond the turtles themselves.
We intend to provide a direct voice to a growing population of the indigenous people across the region who have shared concerns relevant to their customary connections to the Bismarck Solomon Seas.
Our organisation is served by a seven-member Board of Directors and will invite interested individuals to apply to serve on our board.
We take this opportunity to also thank all our funders and the communities we represent to support this cause including WWF-Melanesia whose aid has assisted us to establish our organization and conduct a social mapping exercise for Rai coast in the Madang Province to determine the potential of extending its activities in that area. We have also received support from partner international, regional and local NGOs and government institutions including SPREP and Global Greengrants Funds (GGF).
Our campaigns highlight the root causes of environmental destruction, which often begin with lack of community control over resources and the inequitable distribution of power.

We seek donor funding to sustain our programs.

The Mas Kagin Tapani Association has a Cheque Account with the Bank of South Pacific Waigani Branch. It’s Account
Number is 1001546953. It’s SWIFT Code is BOSPPGPM. Mas Kagin Tapani’s Internal Revenue Commission’s Tax File
Number is: TC 8662
For further information please contact Wenceslaus Magun on: 719 59665 or
Address: P.O. Box 1312, Port Moresby, National Capital District, Papua New Guinea.


  1. Project Summary

    Our project site is located on the northwest coast of Madang about 70 to 100 kms from Madang town. This project involves the communities of Karkum, Mirap, Tokain 1 (Yadigam), Tokain 2, Magubem, and Kimadi (see project map below) comprising of more than 3,000 people.

    Although this location does not boast of having the highest number of leatherback turtles frequenting its beaches when the project was first established compared to the Huon coast project in the Morobe Province, PNG covering the villages of Paiawa, Kamiali, Buli and Labu Tale, it remains to be the first model site for establishing a turtle conservation project using a locally managed marine area (LMMA) using conservation deed (CD).

    What is a Conservation Deed? It is a product of a community-driven process that results in increased community awareness, education, and training. It is a formal legal document from the community that creates a locally managed conservation area and a long-term community stake in the protection of natural resources in ways that also meet the economic and social needs of the community. Robert H. Horwich in A Landowner's Handbook of Relevant Environmental Law in Papua New Guinea states that "The Conservation Deed is a recent innovation which might be considered something like a 'People's Conservation Area.'…[S]ome lawyers feel it may be the strongest kind of legal land protection…"

    Our campaigns highlight the root causes of environmental destruction, which often begin with lack of community control over resources and the inequitable distribution of power. We see the plight of these species not only as single species environmental tragedies that need immediate attention, but as a vehicle for shifting the paradigm of how the human species views its relationships with the natural world.

    Our goal was to guide them through a process to understand this issue and to develop action plans to move forward. Our efforts in these communities in PNG are laying the groundwork for the longer-term aim of empowering local communities to manage their own resources and be a strong voice for conservation in the region.

    The success of this project has seen the transformation of the mindset and attitude of the communities that share the black sandy beaches where the leatherback turtles come to nest from habitual slaughter of adult nesting females and local consumption of eggs to protection and restoration of this critically endangered marine reptile.

  2. Project Need and Significance

    To save the Western Pacific leatherback turtles from extinction and mitigate the decline of other turtle species population in the region, they must be protected where they nest, migrate and forage, and PNG’s nesting beaches and coastal waters are an essential part of this conservation puzzle.

    From our site visits, we have heard from leaders and local people who are highly concerned about, and want to do something about the decline, not only in the number of sea turtles frequenting their beaches, but also in the entire fisheries resources. Through our initial educational programs, they began to realize that they themselves had been and still are one of the causes of the decline. They are also aware of outside causes such as commercial fishing.

    The process formally commenced in March 2007 when about fifty indigenous clan leaders and villagers who had been elected by their communities to be STRP representatives met to support and participate in community development workshops. Our community facilitators facilitated these meetings which were supported by their community-based organization, Gildipasi and Duergo. The process has engaged community members to work with their neighbours, and involves members of each local community, the Gildipasi Planning Committee, STRP, Duergo Community Development Association of Karkum and facilitators. Workshops in the different villages were conducted throughout 2007 and 2008. Since then we have successfully transferred the community development training process from its forest conservation origins to focus on marine protections.

    As a result of our meetings, campaigns and workshops with these communities the village of Karkum have signed their Conservation Deed (CD) in which the community will not kill or eat leatherbacks for 5 years and expressed interest in capacity building training. This CD was done on 17th of November 2008. Read more on Karkum Villagers Sign Conservation Deed in under campaigns, as Makata has still to establish its own website address. The communities have also taken remedial actions to mitigate other major threats to turtles nesting on their beach from predation of nests by dogs and pigs by building bamboo grids.

  3. Project Objectives and Long-Term Goals:

    Long-Term Goal 1: Establish Mas Kagin Tapani Association.
    Objective: A PNG community-based local NGO is established to sustain sea turtle restoration and protection project in the Western Pacific region.
    Outcomes: Successfully incorporated Makata with the Investment Promotion Authority (IPA) and secured Tax File Number with the Internal Revenue Commission (IRC) in April 2009; opened a bank cheque account; Established Makata’s financial policies and regulations and other relevant guidelines to manage Makata. Secured small grants from WWF-Melanesia and Global Greengrants to sustain the program in 2009; and in 2010 secured long-term partnership with SPREP. Our national coordinator was also appointed a board member for the Mineral Policy Institute in Australia in 2010.

    Long-Term Goal 2: Establish turtle conservation project sites in Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi in 2011 using locally manage marine area tool as conservation deed (CD).
    Objective: Community mobilization and launching of CDs in these respective villages.
    Outcomes: Establish CDs in Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem, and Kimadi by the end of 2011.

    Long-Term Goal 3: Enable indigenous tribal members to understand turtle biology for different sea turtle species, marine eco systems, and gain technical knowledge of turtle tagging, monitoring, collecting, storing and sharing this information. Enable participants to develop their communities’ conservation management vision, strategy and action plan
    Objective: Build capacity of indigenous tribal members on turtles, eco-systems, marine biology, and technical skills so they can manage and sustain this program after Makata exits.
    Outcomes: Karkum villagers were able to tag and monitor the turtles since 2008 and 2009 that came to nest on their beach; turtle census and data sheets have been compiled and sent to SPREP in 2010; If funding permits additional training and hands on exercises will be conducted in 2011 and beyond for accuracy and reliable information to be gathered, stored and shared. We plan to conduct this training during peak nesting season (December to February) each year.

    Long-Term Goal 4: Conduct census and monitoring of nesting beaches to quantify baseline nesting data such as annual number of emergences, nests, nesting females, incubation success, and hatch success.
    Objective: To protect and restore the declining population of the leatherback turtles, hawksbill and the green turtles and to share the data with relevant stakeholders.
    Outcomes: In 2008 and 2009 Karkum villagers conducted an adhoc turtle tagging and monitoring exercise based on the theoretical lessons they gained from the turtle training workshop Makata had organised. The data they collected have been supplied to SPREP but it clearly indicated that a practical lesson is needed in order for them to do a good job. We intend to carry out this activity during peak nesting period annually from 2011 (December to February) in all our project sites onwards if funding is made available.

  4. Oue long-term goals

    Our goal is to guide indigenous communities to go through a process to understand turtle conservation issue and to develop action plans to move forward. Our efforts in Madang, PNG are laying the groundwork for the longer-term aim of empowering local communities to manage their own resources and be a strong voice for conservation in the region.

    Our aim is to be the vehicle in sustaining the turtle conservation programs in PNG and in the Western Pacific region. We also intend to provide a direct voice to a growing population of the indigenous people across the region who has shared concerns relevant to their customary connections to the Bismarck Solomon Seas.

    It is our desire to extend our turtle conservation efforts to Rai coast, Bogia and to the outer islands of Madang Province to see an increase in the number of live and healthy hatchlings returning to sea. But in order to do that we must first prove successful in implementing this project in our pilot project sites in north coast of Madang Province. We also intend to extend our programs over to West New Britain, and Bougainville where leatherbacks come to nest as indicated by the aerial surveys map conducted by NOAA which we have obtained from TNC.

    We also believe that by involving all communities to participate in the protection and restoration of the leatherback turtles and other turtles can we benefit to understand the leatherback turtle population and other turtles trends in our region. Our efforts in Madang complements past research and monitoring work at Kamiali and other Huon coast sites dating back to the mid 1980s.

  5. The turtle conservation efforts in Madang, Papua New Guinea (PNG) began when Turtle Island Restoration Network (TIRN) a US based non-government organization hired consultant Wenceslaus Magun in June 2006 to establish the sea turtle restoration and protection project. After TIRN ceased funding this program in December 2009, Mr. Magun established the Mas Kagin Tapani Association (henceforth Makata) to sustain this project. Since the establishment of Makata, the organization has benefitted from WWF-Melanesia’s funding, Global Greengrants Funding (GGF), South Pacific Regional Environment Program’s (SPREP) funding and long-term commitment to support this project as indicated in their media statement ( or watch our movie on

  6. Turtle Training, Tagging and Monitoring.

    After a turtle training workshop was conducted in September 2009 at Karkum, Karkum villagers established a conservation team that got involved in the monitoring activities. According to their turtle data sheets provided to us and later delivered to SPREP, they started the monitoring activities on the 06th of December 2009 and ended on the 16th of February 2010. The team comprised of Andrew Magal as their team leader.
    The beach was not divided into any sections nor was the group divided into teams to patrol the sections. Monitoring was done on adhoc basis both during the day and night and the data was collected. The team used the titanium tags to tag the turtles and recorded the length and width of the curved carapace using measuring tapes. They also measured the depth of the nesting pit when the turtles lay eggs and used it to relocate eggs at some sites.The tags and other equipment used in their beach patrol were supplied to Makata by SPREP. The beach rangers also used bamboo grids. We were not given any measurements of the width or gap between the weaves or whether the outer strips were tied. All the bamboos were supplied from the nearby bushes as they were readily available. They recorded the carapace length (CCL), and width (CCW) and the distance of the nests from the sea and to the nearest vegetation.
    The data analysis gathered indicated that they had made attempts to collect nesting population counts, egg counts, and hatchlings counts in their 3 Kms of the beach with a width of about 46 m. The result clearly indicated that there is an eminent need for proper supervision and monitoring and comprehensive turtle training to gather better results.
    In November 2011 we plan to conduct a turtle training workshop. This will be followed-up by a beach census and monitoring. We intend to engage a marine biologist or para-marine biologist from Huon Coast if possible to assist us in carrying out this activity so that the data sheets used is consistent with theirs. We want to ensure that the 3 km sampling area is subdivided into the 1 km section each and labeled according to the communities from one end of the beach to the other bordering with Mirap village. Each sections boundary will be marked with a peg and that each section of the beach will be monitored by teams of three beach rangers deployed each night to patrol the beach at intervals of less than one hour from 6 pm to 5 am or until the last turtle leaves the beach.
    7.b.8 Beach Census in Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi
    As soon as these communities establish their LMMAs using the CD process, we intend to assist them establish their conservation team and engage them also in carrying out beach census and monitoring exercise starting in December 2011 and ending in most likely January 2012. All the steps, processes, and materials used in Karkum will be adopted for this exercise in these communities. We are in dire need for these materials. If we can be donated these materials or funded to purchase them it will be highly appreciated.

  7. Project Partners

    (c.i) Tokain group of villages consisting of Tokain 1 (Yadigam), Tokain 2 and Simbukanam, and another cluster of five villages in the surrounds, Malas, Dibor, Imbab and Yambrik, are collectively also referred to as the Gildipasi region or area . These villages fall into Wards 4 and 5 of the Sumgilbar Local-Level Government within the Sumkar District in the north-west coast of Madang Province. These communities have established STRP volunteers who had taken the initiative to organize their communities and have further prohibited their communities from harvesting leatherback turtles and other turtle species. Their Community Based Organisation, Gildipasi, through their representative on Makata’s board, Leo Yat Paol has invited Makata to sustain its project in their communities. That has seen the completion of their project sites maps (See maps). Our pro-bono legal officer has also completed all their CDs. Mr. Paol had presented them to these communities for a final review in order for the preparations of the launching of their conservation deeds.

    (c.ii) Karkum and Mirap villages which fall into Wards 3 of the Sumgilbar Local-Level Government within the Sumkar District also in the north-west coast of Madang Province have also appointed Adolf Lilai their representative on Makata’s board. Mr. Adolf and the Karkums environment and conservation team have ensured that their CDs are adhered to. They have also beefed up their STRP initiatives through fund raising drives and other financial initiatives. They have also established their private school, Karkum Christian Academy and built their permanent multi-community resource center which can now be used for trainings, accommodation and meeting other needs (photos can be provided if required).

    (c.iii) In 2010 SPREP visited Karkum and made a commitment to be long-term partners with Makata to sustain the turtle conservation efforts. We look forward to a meaningful and productive outcome from this commitment in 2011 and beyond (photos can be provided if required).

    (c.iv) In 2010 DEC recognized our efforts and expressed commitment in supporting our endeavors. We are in contact with them to ensure that this commitment translates into tangible outcomes (see DEC’s commitment below)

    The establishment of Makata and its subsequent project activities in Madang Province has received support from WWF-Melanesia (support letter can be supplied), TIRN (support letter can be supplied) and from PNG’s Department of Environment and conservation (DEC) as indicated in their Threatened Species Status Improving of PAPUA NEW GUINEA MARINE PROGRAM ON CORAL REEFS, FISHERIES AND FOOD SECURITY National Plan of Action 2010-2013’s coral triangle initiative magazine

  8. More Information on sea turtles

    Sea turtles of today have changed little from their ancient reptilian ancestors that appeared on earth millions of years ago before humans. For many years, humans have been exploiting turtles for food and decorative ornaments. In the last 200 years or so, the uncontrollable harvests of adults and juveniles and turtle eggs have caused sea turtle population worldwide to drastically decline. The remaining population are critically endangered and very close to extinction.

    Of the seven of world’s marine turtles, six occur in the PNG marine waters. These include the flatback, the green turtle, the hawskbill, leatherback, the loggerhead and olive ridley. Of these six, hawsbill, green turtle and leatherback turtle are most common. From previous survey results and anecdotal information, PNG has some of the largest remaining populations of hawksbill, green turtle and leatherback turtle in the world today. However, these populations and especially the leatherback turtle have rapidly declined.

    Marine turtles have lived over 100 millions of years. They grow slowly and take between 30-50 years to reach sexual maturity. Some live to be over a 100years old.

    All marine turtle species are experiencing serious threats to their survival. The main threats are:
    • pollution which can cause change to the environment – especially reefs and nesting areas;
    • Marine turtles are also killed by entanglement in marine debris;
    • Incidental catch in active fishing gear;
    • Predation by feral animals, changes to habitat; and
    • Food sources and indigenous hunting.

    Marine turtles migrate long distances of up to 3000 km between nesting beaches and home foraging grounds so that impact on animals in one region have far-reaching implications for populations that spun local, regional and national boundaries.

  9. Marine turtles have traditionally had strong cultural linkages to local communities along the coastal areas of PNG. To maintain these cultures drastic decline in turtle populations must be able to be put to a stop.
    Many beaches and near shore reefs along the coastal areas of PNG are home to the marine turtles. While turtle conservation programs have been initiated in a few parts of PNG, large areas although significant in nature lack turtle conservation programs. It is in these areas that local consumption of turtle for eggs and meat go on without saving some of these turtles and eggs.

    In 2006 STRP carried out an awareness campaign to save the turtles on the Madang beaches. This was followed in 2007 by STRP and the community of Karkum getting together to set up conservation areas along the beaches to save the nesting marine turtles and other marine resources and habitats under various degrees of threats.

    In 2009 Makata initiated this training workshop. It is the first of its kind and a follow-up of the activities and interests generated so far in turtle conservation and management with the Madang community. The communities have indicated that they wish to go one step further in turtle conservation and begin to develop action plans to tag and monitor nesting turtles during the nesting season. Hence this training workshop was carried out to meet their requirement.

    The workshop was hosted by the Karkum community of Madang. The workshop ran from 19th to 23rd September 2009. The target audience of the workshop included community members from Karkum, Mirap, Gildipasi (Yadigam, Tokain, Malas, Magubem, and Kimadi) group of communities and neighbouring villages. There were 62 participants at this course.

  10. Turtle Training Outcome:

    • Participants have been exposed to turtle tagging and monitoring protocols and are comfortable to begin turtle monitoring including tagging and documentation of nesting data on their nesting beaches;
    • Participants are well versed with turtle and marine issues and are able to articulate through awareness campaigns to the coastal communities of the Madang coasts;
    • A turtle conservation and management network is established and information flow and exchange is initiated and maintained;
    • Participants of the training workshop complete the training and are awarded training certificate.

    Turtle Training Significance

    The significance of this training is to sustain the turtle conservation program in North coast and Rai coast of Madang province. More importantly, this training enabled the participants to convey the significance of their members work through their turtle tagging, data’s, photos and other stories of success or challenges encountered in protecting and restoring turtles with a wider audience.

    Makata also used the occasion to increase its network with professional organizations, individuals and institutions with the view to enhance the outcomes of its members work in their respective localities.

  11. Under the PNG Flora and Fauna Act,
    leatherback turtles are protected species.

    This means that you can be fined (K 500) and jailed for:

    1.Killing a leatherback turtle

    2.Buying or selling leatherback turtle meat or eggs

    Department of Environment and Conservation

  12. Project End Products, Outcomes, and Benefits:

    End Products 1: Makata has transformed the mindset and attitude of people who once habitually killed turtles and harvested their eggs for protein to protecting and restoring their population
    Outcomes: Since 2007 villagers in Karkum, Mirap, Yadigam, Tokain, Magubem and Kimadi have shifted their attitudes from killing turtles and harvesting their eggs to protecting and restoring their population particularly that of the critically endangered leatherback turtles. Villagers who once opposed this project are now holding hands and supporting it resulting from two years (2007 and 2008) of community development trainings we had conducted.
    Benefits: Their dying myth of how they originated from turtles has been revived. After decades of few turtles coming to nest, the numbers of turtles particularly of the leatherback turtles coming to nest has increased. After more than two decades teen ages, some adult, and young children who hardly saw live leatherback turtles nesting or even their hatchlings returning to sea now have seen and witnessed leatherbacks laying eggs on their black sandy beaches.

    End Products 2: Karkum established conservation deed in 2008.
    Outcomes: In 2008 Karkum village launched its conservation deed marking 5 years of no-take zone for fish and strict observation for the protection and restoration of marine turtles
    Benefits: The Australian High Commission to PNG, Mr Ian Kemish visited Karkum in April 2010 and donated a substantial amount of money using the Australian High Commission’s Head of Mission Direct Aid Program (HOMDAP) to the villagers in acknowledging their turtle conservation efforts. Greater awareness of the protection and restoration of the critically endangered leatherback turtles has widely been advocated in the media impacting a broader audience. This has resulted in World Bank and the Port Moresby International School donating library books to Makata for schools in the project sites. SPREP has made commitment to become Makata’s long-term partner in sustain this program. SPREP has also donated educational awareness materials and Garmin E-Trex 12 GPS receiver to Makata. WWF-Melanesia and GGF have stepped in to support the program with small grants. With WWF funding Makata was able to purchase a computer, digital camera and accessories for Karkum. TIRN has also donated a used laptop and 3 operational GPS equipment to Makata. Local and international NGO’s, tourists and individuals have shown keen interest in this program. The National Alliance for Indigenous Land and Sea Management Areas (NAILSMA) in Australia delegation have visited Karkumin 2009 and shared stories and experiences with the community. They have also donated other educational awareness materials to the community apart from supporting the community in erecting the billboard at the entrance of the village and co-funded the extension of their eco-lodge. The Madang Provincial Governor, Sir Arnold Amet was briefed in 2010 of this project through IUCN’s representative in Fiji, Mr. Taholo Kami. In 2009 alone Karkum’s have made more than US$15,000.00 as economic spinoffs resulting from this project.

    End Products 3: Makata’s efforts have been captured on page 41 under Goal # 5: Threatened Species Status Improving of PAPUA NEW GUINEA MARINE PROGRAM ON CORAL REEFS, FISHERIES AND FOOD SECURITY National Plan of Action 2010-2013’s coral triangle initiative magazine
    Outcomes: Makata’s board and the communities we work with feel grateful that PNG’s Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) has finally recognized our efforts.
    Benefits: Makata gets indirect publicity as well as recognition for our humble turtle conservation efforts.

  13. Independent Review of the Environmental Impact Statement for the proposed Nautilus Minerals Solwara 1 Seabed Mining Project, Papua New Guinea

    Conducted for the Bismarck-Solomon Seas Indigenous Peoples Council
    Madang, Papua New Guinea

    By Richard Steiner, Professor, University of Alaska Marine Advisory Program Science Advisor, Bismarck-Solomon Seas Indigenous Peoples Council (BSSIPC) Member, IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic, and Social Policy

    January 10, 2009

    II. Summary of Findings

    The Solwara 1 project proposes to commercially exploit gold and copper deposits associated with deep-sea hydrothermal vents at a depth of 1,500 in the Bismarck Sea off Papua New Guinea. As the Project would represent the first large-scale, human-induced, site-specific disturbance to the deep ocean basin anywhere in the world, it must be considered with exceptional deliberation and caution. Scientists only first discovered these deep-sea hydrothermal vents and their exotic chemosynthetic ecosystems in 1976, and these extraordinary ecosystems remain poorly understood today. Deep-sea hydrothermal vents, found along mid-ocean ridges and back-arc basins (such as the Manus Basin in the Bismarck Sea), support one of the rarest and most unique ecological communities known to science. Organisms derive their energy from sulfide chemicals in hot (350 C), mineralized vent fluids rather than directly or indirectly from photosynthesis as in other biological communities, and/or from endosymbionts in their tissues. Most species discovered at vents are new to science, and the vents support communities with “extremely high biomass” relative to other deep-sea habitats. Some scientists suggest that such deep-sea hydrothermal vents systems may be where life first evolved on Earth.

    The proposed Solwara 1 mining project would destroy an extensive patch of productive vent habitat, including tens of thousands of vent chimneys, killing virtually all of the attached organisms. The EIS states that: “The extent of the impacts to vents and other seafloor habitats directly mined will inevitably be severe at the site scale,” and that “it may be many years before development of chimneys returns to pre-mining conditions (emphasis added).” And mining is expected to alter venting frequency and characteristics on surrounding seafloor areas as well, thus affecting the ecological communities of a much broader scale than just the mined site.

  14. Although the Solwara 1 EIA / EIS makes a significant contribution to deep-sea vent science, it is clear that the EIS does not present sufficient information with which the PNG government can effectively judge the project’s expected impacts. Thus the EIS is judged as not fit-to-purpose. Many risk contingencies are poorly analyzed, some are not analyzed at all, and many of the baseline studies necessary to understand potential impacts have yet to be completed.

    For instance, studies of the taxonomy and genetic relationships of macro-invertebrate species found at Solwara 1, South Su (upstream about 2 km), and Solwara 8 (downstream about 45 km) have not been completed, and thus the degree of genetic variability and endemism of organisms between sites is not yet known. It is likely that several rare and endemic (found only at the site) macro-invertebrate species that are yet to be described by science exist at Solwara 1. As a result of the 2007 study at the mine site, “at least 20 new species have been added to the species list at active vent sites.” This is a high rate of discovery of species new to science, and species encounter rates of the studies predict that there are likely many more species yet to be identified at the site. Such species would likely become extinct due to the mining project, even without having yet been identified or described. This alone constitutes an unacceptable risk. Bioethics dictates that resource development should not knowingly put species at risk of extinction, be they well-known charismatic macro-fauna (tigers, gorillas, whales, etc.), or poorly known deep-sea invertebrates.

    While Nautilus conducted extensive studies of the deep-sea benthic (bottom dwelling) communities at the site, no systematic study was conducted on the deep-sea pelagic (water column) community that would be impacted immediately overlying the seafloor. Further, there was an inadequate assessment of risks associated with sediment and waste rock disposal, toxicity of the dewatering plume to deep-sea organisms, effects of increased light and noise in the deep ocean environment, and potential accidents on seafloor equipment or surface vessels. Regarding impacts to the nearshore ecosystem, one of the greatest risks from the project is the potential loss of tow or power of an ore shuttle barge in route to Rabaul (the EIS projects 3-9 barge trips per week, with 6,000 tons of toxic ore onboard each transit), or of one of the 25,000 ton bulk ore freighters (3-6 trips per month from Rabaul), and the barge or freighter then drifting ashore spilling its toxic cargo and fuel onto the coastal reef system. Yet, this risk was not considered at all in the EIS. Much of the EIS is simply too general in nature to determine impacts, and many of the mitigations proposed rely upon Environmental Management Plans and procedures that have yet to be developed by Nautilus, and thus the effectiveness of these cannot be judged at present.

    It is likely that the project would result in severe, prolonged, and perhaps region-wide impacts to a globally rare and poorly understood biological community, and it is clear that the EIS does not adequately assess many of these impacts. Further, the benefits to local people or the economy of PNG seem disproportionately low compared to the scale and risk of the project.

    While the Project could gross almost $1 billion USD in its 30-month lifetime, it expects to provide only $41 million in total taxes and royalties to the government, a $1.5 million development fund, and a few dozen jobs at most to PNG nationals.

    Given the above concerns, it is respectfully recommended that the government of PNG not approve the project on the basis of this EIS.


    Madang Province is situated on the north coast of PNG.
    Near the Equator and has warm temperatures (28-34 degrees Centigrade).
    Dry season from May to September.
    PNG highest peak Mount Wilhelm in the border region of Madang and Simbu Provinces.
    Finisterre and Adelbert Ranges contain some of the richest biological diversities.
    Ramu River and the floodplains provide some of the most fertile land for agriculture.
    The coastline of Madang lies along a geological fault line and is volcanically active.
    Land Mass:
    Total of 28,339 square kilometers including Karkar, Bagabag, Arop (Long) and Manam islands. Including sear area, over 90,000 square kilometers.
    In 1871, Russian scientist Nicholai Miklouho-Maclay was the first European in Madang.
    German plantationists, Lutheran and Catholic Missionaries followed.
    After First World War German New Guinea joined Papua as an Australian protectorate. Second World War saw fierce battles in Madang Province.
    Many war relics still in good conditions in the bush and sea. Once important port for Highlands but declined with Highlands Highway opening.
    A quarter of the world’s distinct languages are in PNG and 25 percent of these are from Madang. Variety of unique culture still intact, Madang people enjoy traditional songs to the beat of the garamut and kundu drums. Traditional carvings, famous Bilbil clay pots, wooden bowls from Rai Coast string bags and other artifacts are made for own use and sale.
    Rai Coast, Madang, Karkar, Bogia, Middle Ramu and Upper Ramu
    Over 300,000 people
    Up to 5,000 mm in the Finsterre Range to average of 2,670 in Bogia district.
    85- 89 per cent
    24-30 Degrees Centigrade;
    Madang Provincial, and District Hospitals at Bogia Gaubin (Karkar Island) and Yagaum near Madang town
    Education: NEED to update.
    Eight high schools, one secondary school (grade11 & 12), 44 elementary schools, 193 community schools, 32 primary schools with grades 1-8, five vocational schools, one International and one permitted schools.
    Tertiary Institutions
    Divine Word University, National Nautical Collage, Madang Teachers College, Para Medical College, Lutheran School of Nursing and Madang Technical College.
    Madang town is located in a deep sheltered harbor with international shipping links.
    Air Services:
    Two flights by Air Niugini daily (Port Moresby – Madang plus other schedule and charter flights by third level airline operators.
    Road Transport:
    Highlands Highway, Ramu Highway, Bogia highway and Rai Coast Highway
    Supplied by Yonki hydro scheme
    Continuously even during dry season
    STD telephone microwave network linked t o satellite

  16. Deep-sea mining in the Pacific denounced
    by Mine Watch on Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 4:22am
    From Radio Australia
    The Papua New Guinea Government’s approval of the world’s first deep sea mine has been denounced by advocacy groups in the Pacific.
    Canadian-based Nautilus Minerals received a licence in January to extract gold and copper from the sea floor in the Bismark Sea about 50 kilometres north of Rabaul. The project’s environmental impact statement has been approved by the PNG government and work is set to commence within the next two years. But critics say Nautilus and other companies are making the Pacific a testing ground for untried technology with unknown environmental consequences.
    Presenter: Karon Snowdon
    Speakers: Maureen Penjueli, Coordinator, Pacific Network on Globalisation; Stephen Rogers, Nautilus Mining CEO

    SNOWDON: With demand and prices rising sharply the mining of gold, copper and other minerals from the deep sea floor is now economically viable.
    Its never been tried before.
    The Solwara One gold and copper project off PNG’s north coast is the first attempt of its kind.
    As well 15 other Pacific Island nations are being offered help from the European Union to develop laws to facilitate similar projects. And that’s worried groups in PNG and across the Pacific, like the Pacific Network on Globalisation – a regional NGO concerned with economic justice.
    Maureen Penjueli, the Network’s Coordinator says the region is being used as a guinea pig for an untried technology.
    PENJUELI: There’s no other place we can benchmark this type of technology being used. So we have no other reference point by which to compare. So we are pretty much guinea pigs in this particular process. So I think that’s why we need to err on the side of caution and really go through this really thoroughly ather that rush through based on the economic arguments alone.
    SNOWDON: Concerns have been raised over the potential impacts of mining on fishing industries.
    Plus on the largely unknown plants and animals that live around these mineralised areas that exist near volcanic vents in the sea bed.
    In the case of Solwarra One, Nautilus will employ technology used by the offshore oil and gas industries to mine up to 2 kilometres below the surface.
    For a 20 year licence the company paid an up front security payment of 18-thousand US dollars and will pay royalties of 2 per cent of its net returns once production begins.
    Nautilus ECO Stephen Rogers spoke to Radio Australia in January when the licence was granted.
    ROGERS: As this industry emerges it is going to present a significant
    SNOWDON: The company has published a 275 page study which included its proposed processes and an environmental impact statement which has been approved by the PNG government.
    In it the company notes and accepts that there are adverse environmental impacts associated with the project but has committed to minimise them.
    It notes the greatest impact is likely to be on the sea floor where the least is known about conditions and fauna, which the report notes could be smothered by accidental spills of fuel or mined material.
    The company commissioned environmental assessments from several universities and Australia’s CSIRO.
    But Maureen Penjueli questions the report’s independence and wants more debate before deep sea mining becomes common around the Pacific.
    PENJUELI: A lot of the concern that the local groups and local communities are having is that there is a need for an independent environmental impact assessment being undertaken.
    SNOWDON: Not to be daunted, Stephen Rogers, Nautilus CEO believes deep sea mining has huge potential.
    OGERS: We have a view in the company that the sea floor industry has the
    SNOWDON: As well as the environmental uncertainties, countries that allow deep sea mining must be confident that it wont lead to impacts beyond their borders under international laws of the sea.