Kiribati’s first Ramsar Site
The island state of Kiribati joined the Convention on Wetlands on 3 April 2013, and the Convention will enter into force for Kiribati on 3 August. Information is now available on the new Party’s first Wetland of International Importance – as summarized by Ramsar’s Nessrine Alzahlawi, Nooto-North Tarawa (1,033 hectares, 001°31’09”N 173°00’08”E) on North Tarawa atoll is a complex of relatively pristine and healthy representative coastal wetland ecosystems which are significant for the bioecoregion, including a wide range of coastal habitats such as lagoons, coral reefs, intertidal mudflats, and mangroves that support a high biodiversity and are resource rich, with a wide variety of finfish, turtles, crustaceans, seaweed and other plants. It is one of the few areas where mangroves are found in the whole of Kiribati, with stands of mangrove dominated by Rhizophora stylosa.
The site is an important breeding area for marine species of conservation value such as the globally endangered green turtle (Chelonia mydas) which nests and forages at the site, the vulnerable giant clam (Tridacna gigas), and the near threatened bonefish (Albula vulpes). Human activities consist of small-scale agricultural gardens, domesticated livestock breeding (pigs and chickens), small-scale coconut plantations, fishing and reef gleaning for both commercial and subsistence.