Jemo Island, Marshall Islands

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Jemo Island, Marshall Islands

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Jemo Island Restoration Project

A Key Turtle Habitat and Food Source

Jemo Island is a 16-hectare, uninhabited coral island in the Pacific Ocean, in the Ratak Chain of the Republic of Marshall Islands. Located 40km north-east of Likiep Atoll, Jemo feeds local Marshallese communities who traditionally hold the island as a food reserve. Its abundance of coconut crabs on land and fish in the surrounding reefs create an ecosystem bursting with life.

Jemo is also listed as one of the three major breeding sites for Green Sea Turtles and is typically regarded by the Marshallese as a seabird sanctuary. These key connector species cross the barrier between land and sea, bringing nutrients that enrich the soil and reefs.

Unfortunately, invasive species are eroding the island and nearby corals, interrupting these key nutrient flows and posing major threats to biodiversity. Climate change threatens to exacerbate these impacts—and there is a clear correlation between the presence of invasive species and reduced climate resiliency for corals and island life in the Marshall Islands. When invasive predators make Jemo an unsafe place to nest, turtles and birds can’t bring their valuable nutrients to the soil, negatively impacting Jemo’s viability as a source of food for the local community.

A Voice from the Field

"Jemo Island has traditionally been held as Mo, a sanctuary, by the Chiefs of the Northern Marshall Islands due to its abundant populations of seabirds and endangered Green Sea Turtles. Invasive rats threaten the long term survival of these populations; removal of the rats will catalyze the restoration of the islet’s biodiversity and restore ecosystem processes that nourish its coral reef and surrounding seas."

– Paul Jacques, Island Restoration Specialist, Island Conservation

The Project

Recent projects on nearby Marshall Islands atolls will provide key insights to help remove invasive species using unmanned aerial vehicles, or drones, throughout 2024. Working with local communities and stakeholders, IOCC partners will implement biosecurity campaigns and train islanders to use these high-tech tools to protect this unique ecosystem.

Project Partners & Funders

RMI Ministry for Environment and Commerce, Marshall Island Conservation Society (MICS), US Department of Interior Office of Insular Affairs Coral Reef and Natural Resources Initiative, OneReef, Marshall Islands Marine Resource Authority (MIMRA), Island Conservation, Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP) Photo Credits: Chris Thompson

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