Tonga

Tonga’s marine ecosystems are worth at least TOP 47 million per year, exceeding the country’s total export value. We are strongly committed to sustaining these values to build an equitable and prosperous blue economy.

In June/July 2002 the eradication of Pacific rats from Maninita Island in the Vava'u group of the Kingdom of Tonga was attempted using Brodifacoum pellets in bait stations. In December 2002, Maninita was revisited and rat trapping carried out to determine if rats were present. While no rats were caught and none were seen, further monitoring in June 2003 is recommended before the island is declared "rat free '.

The origin of this Action Strategy lies in the RETA (Regional Environmental Technical Assistance Project). No. 5403. funded by the Office of ihe Environment of the Asian Development Bank and executed by the South Pacific Regional Environment Programme. The Kingdom of Tonga was one of five countries which agreed to participate in a regional programme directed at strengthening the environmental management capabilities of Pacific Island member countries of the Asian Development Bank.

The importance of coastal and marine environments to every aspect of the lives of Pacific Islanders cannot be overstated. Pacific Island Countries and Territories (PICTs) maintain resource rights and management responsibilities for over 30 million square kilometres of ocean, equivalent to the total land area of Canada, China and the United States of America. The total population of coastal Pacific Islanders is only 2.6 million. There are 11 square kilometres of ocean for each Pacific Islander.

The Pacific islands of Oceania cover almost 15% of the world's surface and are characterised by a high degree of ecosystem and species diversity. The region is characterised by thousands of isolated small coral atolls and higher volcanic islands, which has led to the high diversity of species found today. In fact, the number of plants and animals found nowhere else on earth (endemic species) is extremely high - often up to 90% for particular groups. Often, these rare and endemic species are adapted to specialised habitats and limited to small areas of a few islands.