Coral Reef Alliance Launches Three-Year Project to Support Sustainable Tourism and Reef Health in Fiji and Papua New Guinea
CONTACT: Eileen Weckerle, Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL)
Phone: 1.415.834.0900 ext.315
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
San Francisco, CA - Tuesday, July 24, 2007 -The islands of the Western Pacific are poised for growth.Visitors from every corner of the world travel here to experience the verdant hills and cerulean seas. Realizing this potential, governments and tourism operators alike are seeking to expand this source of revenue. But can these areas accelerate tourism growth without destroying their habitats?
Over the past few years, these areas have started to establish marine protected areas-a key component in protecting marine habitats. Building on this groundswell of momentum, the Coral Reef Alliance (CORAL) is launching a three-year project to assist in making these protected areas effective.
CORAL has three recent staff additions to ensure project success: Bryan Dias as Western Pacific Program Manager, Michele Bowe as Papua New Guinea Field Representative, and Heidi Williams as Fiji Field Representative. Dias's former experience as Reef Environmental Education Foundation's (REEF) Outreach and Education Director combined with a Master's in International Environmental Policy makes him well suited to this position. "By managing several sites in the same region, I can share lessons learned. I also bring managers from different sites together. These types of relationships not only support the individual areas but the region as a whole."
Bowe comes to CORAL from WWF, where she has been developing an eco-region conservation plan for Papua New Guinea. Williams has spent the past year conducting ecological surveys in locally managed marine protected areas of Fiji. Bowe and Williams explain why they think CORAL's approach is different. "With 13 years in the field, CORAL has devised a proven model to build strong marine protected areas. Hallmarks of success include sustainable marine tourism businesses, financially independent protected areas, and conservation projects to reduce coral threats. However, CORAL also trains locals to be certified CORAL Leaders. This gives them the skills to train neighboring and future site managers to be effective as well."
This project was generously funded by the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.
ith more than thirteen years of field experience, CORAL is a nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting the health of coral reefs by uniting ecosystem management, sustainable tourism, and community partnerships. Find out more at www.coral.org.