The Arnavon Islands are a group of small sand cays in the middle of Manning Strait, between western Isabel and eastern Choiseul in Solomon Islands (Figures 1 and 4). The Arnavon Islands Community Marine Conservation Area (ACMCA) was declared in 1995 and comprised an area of 152 km2 (Hamilton et al., 2015) which, according to The Nature Conservancy, “protects the South Pacific’s largest rookery for the critically endangered Hawksbill sea turtle along [with] significant areas of unspoiled coral reefs, diversity of marine and bird species and cultural heritage sites.” On 11th May 2017, the ACMCA was upgraded to the Arnavon Community Marine Park (ACMP) (Figure 1b) which covers 169.09km2 and includes a detailed management plan, the key components of which are outlined below, along with details the rules that applied under the ACMCA.
When it was established, the ACMCA introduced prohibitions on hunting of all species of turtle within the conservation area boundaries (collecting eggs is prohibited everywhere under the Fisheries Act 1998), together with prohibitions on fishing for vulnerable species and commodity fisheries such as trochus, sea cucumbers, pearl shells and sharks. While collecting giant clams (Tridacna spp) is prohibited nationally under the Fisheries Act, giant clams enjoyed an extra level of protection due the presence of rangers on the islands. Line fishing for fin fish for subsistence only was permitted within the boundaries. Collecting of megapode eggs was allowed within specific seasons.
Under the new Arnavon Community Marine Park (ACMP), the following rules apply:
1. Mining and logging are prohibited (this will include deep sea mining within the boundaries of the Marine Park).
2. Species subject to total bans on harvesting: all species of turtles (and their eggs); all species of pearl shell; trochus (Trochus niloticus); all sea cucumbers; giant clams (Tridacna spp); green snail (Turbo marmoratus); all sharks; all corals (living and dead); pigeons; milk fish (Chanos chanos).
3. Cutting, damaging and removing of live vegetation within the Park is prohibited. Collection of firewood for subsistence use while on the islands is allowed.
4. Line fishing for reef fish within the Park is allowed for subsistence only.
5. Hunting of megapode birds is prohibited, but their eggs can be collected during a periodic open season, after consultation with Conservation Officers.
6. Commercial collection of all other marine or terrestrial animals (including aquarium fish, molluscs and crustaceans) is prohibited, but subsistence consumption of most of these is allowed while on the islands.
Foale S, Wini L, Fernandes L. 2017. The Arnavon Community Marine Conservation Area: a review of successes, challenges and lessons learned. A report to the MACBIO project. Suva: GIZ, IUCN, SPREP