Since 1993, Ailan Awareness (AA) has engineered a unique approach to sustainable marine conservation. By empowering coastal communities to manage the marine resources they depend upon, AA aims to protect both the people and reefs of New Ireland for future generations.

AA Interns working in PNG village

AA Interns working in PNG village

Working directly with the grassroots population, AA addresses a major gap in government regulation and the efforts of international NGOs: it gives the people most directly affected by marine conservation the initiative and tools required to design and carry it out.

At the same time, AA collaborates with local and national government agencies, conservation NGOs, and international institutions in order to maximize the potential of its efforts and to better protect New Ireland’s reefs and people. The AA approach consists of a variety of initiatives, including an Awareness Roadshow to spread marine conservation awareness and education to rural villages and schools throughout the province, establishing Community Based Marine Resource Management Plans in coastal communities, and the creation of a Marine Resource Management school to educate and inspire the province’s young people.


John Aini and AA work in collaboration with a variety of national sectors and international institutions, establishing partnerships and programs with:

–       The Asian Development Bank. 2005 – 2006

o   Data Collection Specialist and Team Manager for socio-economic surveys and data collection projects

o   Jointly funded by National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and Asian Development Bank (ADB) Coastal Fisheries Management and Development Project

o   Pioneered community based fisheries and marine resource management and awareness road show

–       The National Fisheries Authority. 1984 – 2000

o   Consultant and technical assistant to NFA biologists and administrators

–       National Fisheries College. 2007 – present

o   Instructor of “Community Based Marine Management” course.

–       Center for Environmental Law and Community Rights, Pacific Heritage Foundation, and EMTV. 1985 – present

o   Work with affected communities and the provincial government

o   Conducted workshops on sustainable logging and land rights in vulnerable communities around the province

o   Successfully campaigned to expose and halt illegal logging activities in NIP.

–       Queensland Department of Primary Industries. 2000 – present

o   Developed a community based sea grass monitoring protocol

§  Teaches monitoring in schools and villages

§  Works with them to monitor sea grass meadows/health.

–       Wildlife Conservation Society. 2005 – present

o   Local consultant in conservation awareness programming design and implementation in NIP

o   Assist with drafting local level government legislation to limit marine resource extraction for New Hanover

–       The Nature Conservancy. 1998 – present

o   Identification of spawning aggregation sites and monitoring for TNC management areas in NIP and West New Britain

o   Conduct awareness workshops in affected communities

–       Niu Ailan Surf Riders Alliance. 2008 – present

o   Contributed to development of provincial surf management plan to protect reefs and communities in surfing areasand stimulate the surf tourism industry

o   Work with communities in vicinity of surf breaks to protect the reefs from over-exploitation.

–       Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMA). 2000 – 2008, to be continued

o   Developed fish stocks monitoring protocol for network of management area initiatives in NIP.

–       Ocean Watch New Zealand. 2007- present

o   Annual collaboration in conducting stock and coral reef monitoring and distribution of awareness materials.

–       Reef Check International. 2000-2002

o   Coordinator for PNG 2000-02

o   Supervised Reef Check monitoring throughout the country and trained partners in monitoring protocols and site identification

–       Oxford University. 1998

o   Created student volunteer program for Reef Check and supervised participants in monitoring management sites

–       Columbia University

Contact John: ailanawareness@gmail.com

2 Responses to About

  1. Hi all, I spent ~3 months in late 2012 sailing through PNG, including New Ireland. Our experiences left a lasting impression, and we would like to connect with John A. or an appropriate alternate person in the organizatoin to talk about how to support local communities which are (or could be) along the path of visiting yachts.

    I know internet access might not be the best for you (it’s not for me either) but please email me when you can, I would welcome a dialogue.

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