Name: Charley Manua
Country: Vanuatu
Location: Pele Island

Charley Manua, born on Pele Island just north of Efate, is a community champion of the Nguna-Pele MPA (NP-MPA). He has been involved in marine conservation issues of his community since his days as a schoolboy. Today, Charley is one of Vanuatu’s most knowledgeable community conservation experts, regularly invited to attend both national and international summits. A key negotiator among Nguna-Pele chiefs in 1995, he led the way to the country’s first island-wide ban on sea turtle harvest. Since that time, he has earned the respect of villagers, NGOs and world-renown conservation practitioners for his dedication and vast knowledge of marine systems. In 2007, Charley received his official SCUBA certification, after years of diving and thousands of hours underwater. The certifying PADI instructor admitted that Charley is “a much better diver than I will ever be.”

Charley’s instrumental role in establishing the NP-MPA and continuing effort to see the organization expand make him an indispensable asset to the nation as it moves toward incorporating more and more community management into national processes. Charley is hoping (pending travel funds) to present some of his work at the International Coral Reef Symposium in Florida in mid-2008. Never forgetting his own initial interest in marine conservation, Charley fosters a love of the sea with the current class of schoolchildren on Pele. He encouraged a young local student to create what is now the logo of the NP-MPA. In the future, Charley hopes to travel around the Pacific not only to share his extensive knowledge but also to learn from the incredible diversity of marine management practices our region possesses.

Photo: Charley tagging a sea turtle, by Christopher Y. Bartlett