Based on Conservation International's successful terrestrial biological survey approach, the Marine Rapid Assessment Program's goal is to rapidly generate and disseminate information on coastal and near-shore shallow-water marine biodiversity. Its surveys yield appropriate and realistic recommendations for conservation and have, at times, resulted in the finding of new species. This marine assessment surveys the coral reefs of Papua New Guinea's Milne Bay Province, which plays an integral role in sustaining coastal communities and represents an important component of the nation's rich natural heritage. Until recently, this environment was under minimal stress, threatened only by a small human population. Now, however, there are increasing signs of habitat degradation due to land-based activities and over-harvesting of sedentary marine resources. Milne Bay Province contains some of the best examples of undisturbed coral reefs in the entire Coral Triangle region, making it vitally important for both government agencies and communities to respond to these threats."
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