Over-fishing and illegal fishing occurs in Fiji as with many other countries that do not have the resources to combat it. This illegal fishing has a great impact on dolphin communities, who often get caught in the cross-fire.
Seaweed farming around the world is an incredibly fast growing industry with an increase of 8% per year since the 1970s. Seaweed is used for human and animal consumption, for fertiliser and to extract various products. Currently the global demand for these products outstrips supply.
Island nations such as Fiji have problems creating jobs and industries on the marginal islands. Usually the only work people can do there is fishing or occasionally in the tourist industry. Seaweed farming provides an alternative income to these marginal communities. Seaweed farms are low-technology so can be started by unskilled workers with minimal training. It is also a job that can be, and often is, done by women.
The Fiji government is aiming to develop seaweed farming to be second only to sugar in terms of export. The Fiji Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry approached GVI for help in achieving this goal in early 2013. The Ministry of Fisheries requested GVI’s assistance in starting up a model farm for the Yasawas. This farm was created and has been maintained by GVI volunteers. Soon the farm will be ready for harvest every 6 weeks and generating income and will serve to demonstrate to prospective local communities how sutainable and potentially lucrative seaweed farming can be. By raising awareness and interest amongst local communities GVI hopes to promote Seaweed farming a viable alternative to unsustainable local fishing practices such as sea cumber poaching.
Thank you for supporting out marine communities!
All the best
I hope this report finds you well. During the April instance of the GVI Spinner Dolphin Research project, the research team spent 9 days recording dolphin behavior on Moon Reef. A new digital sound recorder, funded by the GVI Charitable Trust and your donations, improved the quality of the hydrophone recordings that we made during this phase and have subsequently been added to Whale and Dolphin Conservation’s data collection. The eight researchers were able to capture photos and record data to a high standard on most days despite some rough weather and choppy seas. It was very interesting to note that the Dolphin Pod Behavior was significantly impacted by the presence of large shoals of Tuna on the outer reefs, impacting that pods normal hunting and rest patterns. Whilst this would be assumed, being able to record this data greatly assisting with Dolphin Conservation efforts in the region.
Thank you for continuing to support this project.
I hope 2014 has gone off to a good start for you.
2013 was a fantastic year for GVI Fiji thanks to your support and donations.
Here are some of our highlights from 2013 for GVI Fiji thanks to your donations!
At this moment in time, the field team are utilising donations to purchase a new laptop for the project to be used for the Spinner dolphin research projects. If you are interested in finding out more about this project or joining the volunteer project to collect the research, please do get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In June GVI Fiji’s Marine Research & Conservation Team facilitated a Yaubula Management Support Team (YMST) Meeting for the Nacula Tikina (District). Yaubula translates to the environment or more literally to the community of living things on land and in the sea. The goal of setting up a YMST is to promote the sustainable development and utilisation of natural resources by improving coordination and communication between stakeholders. YMST’s are a function and extension of Fiji’s provincial coucils and are officially recognised once the structure and participatory communities and representatives are formalised. These teams aim to improve natural resource management at provincial level by setting common goals for community stakeholders in Fiji. This meeting was held to formalise the Nacula Tikina YMST, designate official roles within the committee, and create a Tikina Nacula Management Action Plan.
GVI Fiji works in partnership with the Fiji Locally-Managed Marine Area Network (LMMA) which is made up of a network of practitioners and organisation involved in various community-based marine conservation projects around the globe, primarily in the Indo-Pacific, which aim to create a forum for best practice and knowledge exchange. The ultimate goal of the network is to facilliate effective natural resource management through locally sustained management efforts. As communities are the centre of FLMMA’s core focus, YMSTs are critical tool for organising communities in an effective and efficient way in keeping with current conservation strategies and best practice.
The Role of Yaubula Management Support Teams
YMST’s are expected to attend and frequently update village, district and provincial council meetings on yaubula (fishing and farming areas) management activities within the village, district and province. Community-based adaptive management is promoted by FLMMA and YMST’s. These teams work as a bottom-up approach by responding to communities needs while referencing and developing a local resource management plan.
The GVI Fiji team began the June meeting by summarising the objectives of a YMST and continued by outlining the main focuses and aim of the GVI Marine Conseravtion program in the Yasawas and within the Nacula Tikina. GVI emphasised that the survey data and findings were available for and could be utilised by the YMST. Specifically, GVI’s capacity to carry out biological monitoring and community outreach & education operations, could be tied in with the aims and plans of village management plans. All data GVI collects is reported back to communities and is shared with the YMST to enable informed decision making.
The members of the YMST discussed current natural resource issues within the District and brainstormed solutions to problems raised in order to form a draft management action plan. At the request of the YMST, GVI agreed to assist the YMST to create village profiles within the Nacula Tikina. Members then elected individuals and assigned formal roles within the Yaubula Management Support Team.
After GVI’s Introduction and presentation, the newly formed YMST then commenced their official meeting. During the meeting participants emphasised that the communities across the region have continued to notice the affects of the changing climate and expressed growing concern about resources. It was emphasised that Marine and fisheries resources are extremely important and therefore monitoring and sustainable management of such resources needs to be effective.
The elected Nacula Tikina YMST assistant coordinator, Tito Elo, discussed his experience as a representative of the YMST to the FLMMA Annual General meeting in Navikakaka, Savu Savu in December 2012, where he attended a workshop that reviewed the best practices for community resource management outcomes where communities and FLMMA members shared ‘lessons learned’.
The updated tabu area map for the Tikina Nacula created by GVI with the support of local communities was discussed and YMST members confirmed the map has been distributed within villages. GVI recapped the importance and role of Fish wardens, YMST members requested that GVI attend village meetings to provide more awareness for communities regarding marine and environmental concerns.
GVI discussed the importance of biological monitoring when opening and closing tabu areas, alternative livelihoods and potential opportunities for income generation in the future, adding emphasis on the importance of socio-economic monitoring. GVI presented options to fund potential alternative livelihood projects and information on how to create grant proposals, reminding committee members of the importance of inviting and including key stakeholders such as resorts to support initiatives.
In September 2013 the Ba Provincial Council Meeting recognised and endorsed the Nacula Tikina YMST. This recognition by the province will afford responsibility for the operation and sustainability of the YMST. GVI will continue to help support the function and continuation of the YMST through our resources and expertise and use this forum to spread further awareness and inform decision making based on our research and ongoing conservation efforts in the region.
Recently, funding from people like you through the Charitable Trust was used to purchase a new GPS unit for the spinner dolphin research project. This device is used to mark GPS points during the research session in order to document where photos are taken and where the C-pod (underwater recording device) is deployed.
The GPS plays a crucial role in the data recording process and is integral to the aims of the research. Further funding has helped to supply a Go Pro – underwater video camera which will be used to compliment the capture of behavioural data when deployed from the research vessel when in transit through the reef. The September research phase managed to capture some incredible high definition footage of the dolphins at play!
Thank you again for all your support. We look forward to sharing this data improvement in the future.
Fiji Country Director
Project Reports on GlobalGiving are posted directly to globalgiving.org by Project Leaders as they are completed, generally every 3-4 months. To protect the integrity of these documents, GlobalGiving does not alter them; therefore you may find some language or formatting issues.
If you donate to this project or have donated to this project, you will get an e-mail when this project posts a report. You can also subscribe for reports via e-mail without donating or by subscribing to this project's RSS feed.