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Along the north coast of Papua New Guinea, nested in the middle of beautiful Madang Lagoon, lies the Tab Island Wildlife Management Area (WMA). This WMA consists of three low-lying, forested coral islands and their surrounding fringing reefs. The smaller island of Mazzaz lies between the two larger islands, Tab and Paeowai, and together they form a natural barrier that protects Madang Lagoon. The inner lagoon is connected to the open ocean by sloping channels between the three islands and houses diverse coral reefs and marine life.

The traditional owners of the islands are the nearby coastal villagers from Siar. For generations, the people of Siar have lived off the surrounding reefs and islands; however, over time, the landowning clan from Siar realised that stocks of fish and other marine species that were important to their livelihood were declining. It was this concern that drove the landowners to protect and manage their marine resources, using the nearby Sinub WMA as a model. The landowning clan set up a Tab management committee to develop a zonation plan for the WMA, including rules, regulations and penalties. In 2000, Tab Island was formally declared a WMA under PNG’s Wildlife Management Act. Now the landowners feel they have more control over their traditionally owned reefs and island.

Location – Papua New Guinea
5° 15′ 57.6288″ S, 143° 47′ 20.6268″ E