Our project has been surveying the reefs around the island of Fiji since 2014 to give a baseline of fish, invertebrate and benthic species in an area with low fishing pressures. In recent years we began rapid habitat assessments of the fishing grounds and proposed Marine Protected Areas while involving the community. Our project now is focused on providing the training, resources and equipment for local community members to take over the ongoing monitoring and outreach required
The reefs are the main source of protein for the communities that live on the island & therefor are under a great deal of fishing pressure and prone to habitat destruction. To ensure that there are fishing stocks for future generations, the people of Moturiki understand that they must protect certain areas of the reef. To act as a habitat for reef creatures to thrive in, a protected area must fulfill certain criteria, be closed to fishing and be used in a non destructive manner.
We can help by using data collected around Caqalai, an area with low fishing pressure, to determine which areas of the reefs of Moturiki are suitable to become MPAs. Training of community members involved int the MYMST by us in data collection by rapid habitat assessments and interpretation of that data will give the community the skills to monitor the health of the reef now and in the future, maintaining ownership of that data using a quick and low cost method
To improve the sustainability of fishing methods, protecting vital areas of the reef so that they remain a source of protein for future generations.