GVI’s Marine Science team decided to coordinate a ‘Fish Warden, Marine Awareness and Resource Management Training Workshop’ after completing intial awareness evenings in Enendala, Malakati, Matacawalevu, Matayalevu, Nacula, Naisisili, Navatua, and Vuaki villages. Previous and existing marine management plans had been discussed with these communities in order to see what had been achieved and what had failed over the last seven years. The principles of marine management where explained to refresh and inspire community involvement. Communities identified poaching within taboo areas as a major problem in the Tikina Nacula.
Cathedral Reef is a dive site in the centre of The Yasawa Group, where two dive operations run a shark feeding dive. There are sightings of up to 9 shark species. Local dive operators requested the assistance of GVI after reporting the presence of commercial fishing vessels in the area. Working in conjunction with the support of the local community and dive operators, GVI proposed training local resort dive instructors, divemasters and boat drivers as fish wardens so that such reefs could be policed. By retaining traditional ownership of local reefs it is hoped these area will be protected and managed by relevant local communities.
In order to formalise the awareness and decisions of the communities with regards to the above issues the Fish Warden Training workshop was designed to empower communities with further training to help them monitor and manage their marine assets and ultimately their food security. GVI approached the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries and Forests and an agreement was made to collaborate to create an informative training session for the district. GVI agreed to fund all aspects of the workshop and arranged for the transport and accommodation of all relevant stakeholders and trainers from the Ministry of Fisheries.
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