Mermaids and Mermen Helping our Coral Reefs:
43 Mermaids and Mermen, many indigenous South Pacific islanders, converged in Fiji for an intensive workshop led by marine scientist, Austin Bowden-Kerby, Phd and Mergeezer!
In all seriousness, we succeeded in carrying out a coral restoration for climate change adaptation intensive workshop for 20 students on 22-28 May. Due to immense interest and requests, another is scheduled from 5-11th June for the next wave of 23 eager participants!
It summary the total students were: 10 from the Ministry of Fisheries, one from Ministry of Youth, five youth leaders, one outer island police officer, five from local NGOs (Vatuvara Foundation, GVI, and Pacific Blue Foundation), five from US NGOs and two from a Caribbean NGO, four indigenous staff from resorts, two German interns, one Kiribati intern, and nine indigenous marine studies university graduates = 43 in total.
Instruction Held on Land and Sea:
The intense study took place in the classroom and on the coral reefs both, with a major achievement during the workshop being the initiation of our first coral outplanting site on the outer barrier reef system of Malolo District- the Great Sea Reef of Fiji (Cakau Levu in Fijian). The 14 km long section of the outer reef that we are planning to begin restoration strategies on is located in clean clear, cooler waters, but it is surprisingly mostly dead, due to repeated bleaching events and the increasing numbers of cyclones. The original corals there were too heat sensitive to survive, so we are now using heat adapted bleaching resistant corals to establish restoration patchers on it.
Tabulate Coral Emergency Rescue Necessary because of Damage from Unsupervised Tourists:
Another activity on the glorious Nuku Reef, surveyed the impact of snorkel tourism businesses, which have recently begun coming to the site, after two years being closed due to the pandemic. We surveyed a third of the reef and found 31 impacted sites, where tourists had stood on the reef and smashed the fragile table or tabulate corals. The workshop trainees collected 110 big fragments, using them to fill in outplanting frames for the new great sea reef site. Our highly respected indigenous liaison will be part of the team compiling and sharing a report on the tragedy for the government, community, and businesses responsible. Then discussions will be held with the community and government on setting aside this spectacular reef, with bleaching resistant corals as a no-take reserve with restrictions on unsupervised snorkeling.
Kind regards to all our GlobalGiving supporters--loyal monthly donors, plus wonderful browsers with giftcards, and so many others of you who recognize the difference of Corals for Conservations hands-on approach for educating native stewards. You are a vital component for both our financial planning and also our ability to respond quickly.,
BIG thank yous go out to Plantation Island Resort for the site support, and to UNEP for helping with the funding.
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