BY AGNES MENANOPO
SOLOMON Islanders are ocean people. We are not separate from our ocean: we are part of our ocean. It is reflected in our history, our culture, and our traditions and in our day-to-day lives, according to the Solomon Islands National Ocean Policy document.
The policy document advocates the importance of not only to respect the plants, animals, and fish of the sea but recognize our own role in maintaining the integrity of our ocean’s ecosystem and its importance to the economy.
With the plan underway to achieve sustainable use and development of the ocean and its resources through integrated governance, the national ocean policy is expected to be implemented by Marine Spatial Planning (MSP).
Marine Spatial Planning is working on a planning process and tool that seeks to balance ecological, economic, and social objectives for better management of the ocean.
Appreciating the progressive work, Umi Toktok Forum Administrator, Benjamin Afuga said that we need to work together with NGOs and the Government and come up with proper planning and policies, even laws to protect and manage our ocean.
“Our ocean is our life because it is where we fish for our consumptions and generate income for our daily livelihoods.
“When we talk about the ocean, we refer to it as part of our life.
“We rely on the ocean for a lot of things; source of food, source of income and source of water for swimming, washing, and cooking,” Afuga said.
He said the ocean is very important to human life and the responsibility comes down to each individual and to protect and look after it well.
Today’s Solomons Magazine Co-founder, Gloria Hong also appreciated the MSP work and said that the ocean is who we are and we should protect it well and do something to manage it.
“Our ocean is so big and managing it and caring for it a difficult task but we as pacific islanders, we are the ocean, our lives revolve around it, it is part of our history and culture.
“This should have been done years ago, but it’s also good that now the government is looking out for it and we are talking about it. There’s a team that has so much passion for this ocean planning process,” Gloria Hong said.