Coral Reef Study
Blue Prosperity Vanuatu Coral Reef Study
Frequently Asked Questions
What is a Blue Prosperity expedition?
Blue Prosperity expeditions are scientific surveys to gather information about coral reef and marine life. These studies have taken place in 74 places around the world, recently in Fiji, Tonga, and the Maldives. You can read the Blue Prosperity Maldives Science Report from the expedition to understand what information has been collected and how the information has been useful for the communities. You can also read more about the recent Blue Prosperity Fiji expedition that finished in August 2023.
What is Blue Prosperity Vanuatu?
Blue Prosperity Vanuatu is a Government-led initiative to strengthen sustainable ocean management and support a healthy ocean, thriving communities, and a brighter future for the people of Vanuatu. The program will support the National Ocean Policy, 100% sustainable ocean management, and full protection of 30% of Vanuatu’s marine waters.
Blue Prosperity Vanuatu is a partnership between the Government of Vanuatu and the Waitt Institute, which began with the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in February 2023. The program will collaborate with and support existing ocean management efforts underway by communities, regional organisations, technical agencies, and non-governmental organisations (NGOs).
Why is Blue Prosperity Vanuatu important?
Vanuatu is 98% ocean and just 2% land. The health of Vanuatu’s ocean is important for food security, economic stability, livelihoods and jobs, climate resilience, tourism, biodiversity, coastal protection, and preserving cultural heritage and ancestral rights.
Yet, the ocean is facing many threats including overfishing, pollution, coastal development, and climate change impacts, such as ocean warming, cyclones, coral bleaching, heavy rainfall, and sea level rise. Creating a comprehensive management strategy is necessary to ensure that ocean ecosystems are kept in balance for the prosperity of all ni-Van and future generations.
What is the Blue Prosperity Vanuatu Coral Reef study?
From 1-21 September, 2023, the Government of Vanuatu in partnership with the Waitt Institute, is conducting a study of coral reefs across all 6 provinces. This is the largest nation-wide assessment of Vanuatu’s coral reefs and will gather information about the status of marine life across Vanuatu’s coastal waters.
The study will be completed by a team of local and international scientists onboard the M/Y Plan b, a large grey ship and two smaller boats. Divers will go out each day to collect information on coral reef health, fish and invertebrates, and water quality.
Information collected will provide a national level of understanding of Vanuatu's coral reefs and will help inform the best way to manage, protect, and sustainably use Vanuatu's ocean.
Where will the expedition go?
The Blue Prosperity Vanuatu expedition will survey coral reefs across all 6 provinces. Two dive teams of 6 people will survey at 10 metre depths in nearshore coral reef habitats.
Priority dive sites have been selected by the Department of Foreign Affairs, Fisheries Department, Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation, and Department of Geology and Mines.
All sites and dates are subject to change due to weather conditions.
Who is involved in the study?
The expedition is Government-led, planned by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Department of Fisheries, and Department of Environmental Protection and Conservation in collaboration with the Waitt Institute and Scripps Institution of Oceanography.
How can this expedition benefit communities?
This expedition will provide information that communities can use to better understand ocean resources and strengthen management, governance, protection, and sustainable use.
What types of information will be collected?
Scientists will perform underwater dive surveys to gather information on:
Invertebrate populations (animals such as lobster, crown of thorns, beche de mer, etc.)
The data gathered will provide baseline information about Vanuatu's coral reef health but will not provide a stock assessment for any specific species. This information will build upon, not replace, extensive traditional and scientific knowledge and existing monitoring and research efforts in Vanuatu.
How will this information collected during the study be used?
This information will be used to support ocean governance and management. Once information has been processed, the findings will be detailed in a report that will be made publicly available by the Government as well as outreach with provinces, communities, and organisations.
How will people be made aware of the study?
Blue Prosperity Vanuatu is running a campaign to spread awareness about the expedition and provide information about the upcoming study. Former Deputy Prime Minister & Minister of Foreign Affairs, Hon. Matai Seremaia, publicly announced the study through a televised speech on VBTC, which was also shared via facebook. Further coverage was provided by the Daily Post, and representatives of Government have made appearances on talkback shows to spread
As the study progresses, updates will continue to be shared on the Blue Prosperity Vanuatu Facebook page.
What does the research vessel look like?
Research activities will take place on the M/Y Plan b, a large grey research vessel and its two small boat tenders.
How will this study support National goals and commitments?
The Blue Prosperity Vanuatu Coral Reef Study will provide information to support the Government's national goals and commitments including:
Vanuatu Marine Spatial Plan
Future marine scientific research
What is the Vanuatu National Ocean Policy?
The Vanuatu National Ocean Policy aims to implement Vanuatu’s long-term ocean commitments to marine protected areas, and to secure and sustainably manage all of Vanuatu’s Ocean and marine resources. The National Ocean Policy promotes inclusive decision-making that takes into account community and commercial interests supported by scientific and traditional knowledge. The program will also build upon Vanuatu 2030, The People’s Plan. The People’s Plan is the country’s highest-level policy framework that outlines the country’s vision for achieving sustainable development.
Who is the Waitt Institute?
The Waitt Institute is a U.S. based non-profit that partners with committed governments and local stakeholders to develop and implement sustainable ocean plans that benefit communities, the economy, and the environment. The Waitt Institute currently has partnerships with the Azores, Bermuda, the Federated States of Micronesia, Fiji, the Maldives, Samoa, Tonga, and Vanuatu.
What is the Blue Prosperity Coalition?
The Blue Prosperity Coalition (BPC) is a coalition of NGOs, academic institutions, foundations, and other organisations working together to assist committed governments in developing and implementing sustainable marine spatial plans to protect the environment and improve the economy at the same time. The Waitt Institute is the organising body of the Blue Prosperity Coalition.
How can I follow the expedition?
Who can I contact for more information?
For general inquiries: Please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org