Fed States of Micronesia
Nukuoro is Pohnpei’s second most southerly atoll some 480 kilometers southwest of the island of Pohnpei. The nearly circular atoll with a deep central lagoon has some 46 islets on the almost unbroken reef surrounding the 40 square kilometer lagoon. It is said that at low tide it was possible to walk from one islet to the other without getting wet. Some of these islets are not natural, but man-made by building up pieces of coral on the lagoon side of shallow reef areas as seawalls, having them filled with sand by the ocean and eventually bringing soil to use them for gardening. The combined landmass of all these islets is 1.7 square kilometers and the largest of these islets close to the channel into the lagoon, Nukuoro Island, is also the administrative center. This main islet has a village spread along the lagoon side with a population of roughly 400 residents, although several hundred Nukuorans live on Pohnpei, the main island of the state.
While formerly Nukuoro’s inhabitants had to be self-sufficient subsistence farmers with taro patches and other gardens located at the center of their island, or were fishermen, for the last 20 years pearl farming has been tried on a small scale.