Coastal & Community Affairs

Managing marine resources at the local, community level


MIMRA's Kalena deBrum interview a Family on Ebon


The Coastal and Community Affairs Division engages with stakeholders at all levels in the Marshall Islands, linking MLMRA to grassroots communities as well as regulatory agencies and elected leaders. Through its partnership with a variety of agencies and non-government groups in the Coastal Management Advisory Committee, the Coastal Division collaborates with people involved in many aspects of fisheries and marine resource management as well as being able to more effectively develop programs that meet sustainability needs of our islands.

The Coastal Fisheries Division provides socio-economic services to island communities through ecosystem-based fisheries management through the Reimaanlok (Looking to the Future) process, coastal fisheries development such as aquaculture and fish aggregating device projects, fisheries research and assessment, fisheries marketing and promotions, compliance and enforcement, and public awareness and capacity building. During FY2016, it continued to provide these services to remote outer island communities despite challenges of transportation and weather/sea conditions.

"This year's community-based activities continued within Majuro as well as seeing an increase on the outer islands. This include briefings with new Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack and his Council."


This year's community-based activities continued within Majuro as well as seeing an increase on the outer islands. This included briefings with new Majuro Mayor Ladie Jack and his Council, as well as work with the landowners of two islands on Majuro's north shore to finalize resource management plans that were developed through the Remaanlok process.

Funding through the World Bank's Pacific Islands Regional Oceanscape Program (PROP) allowed the Division to not only incorporate new activities but helped with delivery of project activities requested by several local government councils and traditional leaders on remote outer atolls.

The Reimaanlok process continues to be the guiding blueprint to working with outer island communities, along with plans for revisiting the process to build capacity in the terrestrial component as part of meeting the Marshall Islands commitment to the Micronesia Challenge, which set a goal of 30 percent of near-shore marine resources and 20 percent of land areas under effective conservation management by 2020.

With the support of the International Atomic Energy Agency and other partners, the Division expanded its research into the causes of ciguatera fish poisoning in the outer islands. Staff conducted marine sampling from three atolls and laboratory testing on the plankton specimens to identify toxicity.

This research will help inform a response to the ongoing problem of ciguatera fishing poising in the Marshall Islands. From2005 to 2014, 776 cases of ciguatera fish poisoning were reported by the Ministry of Health in Majuro, underlining the point that this is a serious concern for people in the Marshall Islands who depend on seafood for their diet and livelihoods.


Both Coastal Division-managed fish markets purchased fish from outer islands fishers in 2015, contributing to local economies. A lae resident deploys a fishing net into the lagoon.


"From 2005 to 2014, 776 cases of cuguatera were reported by the Ministry of Health in Majuro, underlining the point that this is a serious concern."

Exports of fish and invertebrates for the international aquarium trade continued in FY2016, but were fewer in number than the previous year because of a decrease in the number of local exports. Only three exporters were active at Majuro and Kwajalein, compared to seven the previous year.

The Outer Island Fish Market Center (OIFMC) in Majuro made slightly fewer trips to the outer islands to purchase fish than in 2015, while the Kwajalein Atoll Fish Market Center (KAFMC) increased visits despite unfavorable sea conditions and maintenance needs of boats and facilities.

In addition to the yearly repairs and maintenance work for MIMRA vessels, facilities and equipment, age and environmental factors have taken their toll. Assessments have been initiated to develop plans for repair and renovation needed for several of the outer island fish bases.

These focused on KAFMC related fishbases at Namu, Ailinglaplap and Likiep atolls.

The giant clam hatcheries  on Arno and Likiep underwent major repairs during the year, and by year's end, were in the final stage of maintenance.

As the hatcheries are being readied for resumption of aquaculture activity, the Coastal Division will be resuming consultations with clam farmers on both atolls.

Likiep's hatchery operates directly with the involvement of the Likiep Aquaculture Association.

The Coastal Fisheries Division manages two Fish Markets: the Outer Island Fish Market Center (OIFMC) in Uliga, Majuro and the Kwajalein Atoll Fish Market Center (KAFMC) in Ebeye, Kwajalein.



Press Release

In support of the Micronesia Challenge, which came about in 2006 to effectively conserve at least 30% of nearshore marine resources and 20% of terrestrial resources across Micronesia by 2020, the Reimaanlok National Conservation Plan was developed in 2008 to provide a method for community based resource management plans. What makes this plan different from what was done in the past is that it does not attempt to identify specific sites for conservation areas, but rather, develops the principles, process and guidelines for the design, establishment and management of conservation areas that are fully owned, led and endorsed by local communities based on scientific evidence, cultural values and future needs. The plan was enhanced with the Reimaanlok Facilitators Field Guide created in 2012 to help implement the Reimaanlok process on a site by site basis. 

Majuro Atoll FAD Programme 2017

Press Release

The Marshall Islands Marine Resources Authority (MIMRA), in collaboration with the Majuro Atoll Local Government, recently deployed five sets of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs), or kajoke, on May 2017. The aim of this project is to compliment national food security, sea safety, sustainable fishing practices and to benefit small scale fishermen throughout Majuro Atoll.

Ciguatera Project

Research and Monitoring

Interviews, medical records and past research have documented that Ciguatera Fish Poisoning is a common occurrence in the Marshall Islands. Through community consultations and interviews, fish species and toxic areas have been identified but not to the extent of toxicity level and its cause. Medical records document number of admitted patients and symptoms only. In the past few years, Community members have expressed grief concerns regarding the prevalent rates of ciguatera fish poisoning in their atolls to MIMRA. With this being said, the Coastal Fisheries team listed Ciguatera Monitoring as a priority project.

Lessons learned at Arno, likiep clam farm facilities


The Coastal Fisheries Division performed extensive rehabilitation on two of its hatcheries so that they were returned to full operation. Raceway tanks were repaired, saltwater pupms installed, and a total of four sessions of successful  artificial spawning of Tridacna Maxima have been carried out with production ranging from five-to-ten million fertilized eggs per tank.

Partnership finds big issues

Sewage Outfall

MIMRA partnered with the College of the Marshall Islands and the University of Hawaii's Sea Grant program to conduct an underwater assessment of the condition of Majuro's sewage outfall and wastewater line and what impact it is having on the marine environment in the area.

Outer island Resource Management

Resource Management

Five outer island projects were funded through the Outer Islands Resource Management Fund. Projects were funded in the amount of $20,000 each for Ailuk, Namdrik, Namu, Arno and Rongelap. The projects range from fish farming in lagoon cages to pearl farming and lagoon management

Controlling the algal blooms

Seaweed outbreaks

For more that 10 years, the main sewage pipeline on Majuro Atoll has been slowly deteriorating causing untreated sewage onto coastal reegs. Eutrophication is an aquatic environment's natural reaction to the excessive addition of nutrients.

Agency assists in three key areas

Support from IAEA

Work in 2015 with the International Atomic Energy Agency focused on three areas                                                                                                    

Multi-nation Project

Support from IAEA

MONITORING IMPACT OF CLIMATE CHANGE: MIMRA staff take samples from fish for laboratory testing as part of five nation ilot project monitoring vulnerability of coastal fisheries to climate change         

Increasing the number of protected areas


MIMRA, with support from its partners in the Coasta management Advisory Council (CMAC), provides technical assistance to local governments and communities for establishing protected areas by conducting resource assessment surveys, providing recommendations on the designation of protected areas, and facilitating the development of management plans for sustainable fisheries development as part of the eight-step Reimaanlok process.

CMAC shares its knowledge base

Advisory Council

The Coastal Management Advisory Council (CMAC) was formed in 2000 to facilitate cooperation among organizations involved in both marine and terrestrial resource management.

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