The Coral Sea borders the Great Barrier Reef and the island archipelagos of Melanesia, and contains marine ecosystems of exceptionally high quality and biodiversity. This region accommodates the last great reservoir of ultra-diverse coral reefs in the world, however it currently has insufficient marine protected areas to achieve robust conservation outcomes. Our aim is to raise awareness of the ecological and social value of the Coral Sea and the Eastern Coral Triangle and take a proactive role in its sustainable management.
Marine reserves support local fisheries and safeguard biodiversity, but in this region, they can only be successful if they are initiated, administered and supported by the local communities. The "Sea Women of Melanesia" program selects intelligent and determined young Melanesian women and trains them in conservation theory, scuba diving and marine biology survey techniques so they have the skills to communicate the need for marine reserves to their local communities and can identify areas suitable for marine protected areas on their own coral reefs.
The Coral Sea Foundation supports the Sea Women trainees in this work and helps the landowners to research and register their marine protected areas and provides humanitarian assistance by way of clean water infrastructure, medical care and education support in order to promote the participation of the community in the marine reserve process. Our grassroots approach has a proven track record of success, and the broad skill-set within our team and our experience working in the remote islands of Melanesia gives us a unique capability to deliver cost-effective results in this area of exceptionally high conservation value.