Marshall Islands Designates Namdrik Atoll as Ramsar Site
24 August 2012: The Secretariat of the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands of International Importance especially as Waterfowl Habitat (Ramsar Convention) has reported that the Government of the Republic of the Marshall Islands has designated Namdrik Atoll as its second Wetland of International Importance. Ramsar reports that the coral atoll is relatively isolated, as there are no navigable passes into the central lagoon, and is in "near pristine condition."
According to the Ramsar Secretariat, the atoll is part of that country's Ralik Chain, and consists of two wooded islands with an extensive reef flat lying between them. A subterranean Ghyben-Herzberg water lens lies underneath the islands, replenished by rainfall, which provides crucial freshwater. The atoll supports a rich mangrove forest home to 150 species of fish, including some endangered species, and supports breeding populations of critically endangered turtle species.
The wetland is threatened by unsustainable harvesting practices. An integrated conservation management plan has been developed with the community.
The Marshall Islands' designation contributes to one of the goals contained in the Ramsar Convention's Strategic Plan for 2009-2015, which is to reach a protected area of 250 million hectares by 2015. [Ramsar Press Release]