This project is focused on identifying and studying the behaviour of what is thought to be the only semi-resident pod of Spinner dolphins in Moon Reef, Fiji. With the addition of a local awareness-raising campaign, we aim to help the local community protect not only the Spinner dolphins, but the whole of their traditional fishing grounds. Fundraising efforts can empower local communities to manage their own marine resources in more sustainable ways.
The District of Dawasamu in Fiji has 8 villages, with the 3 coastal villages reliant on fishing for both food and income. In recent years there has been a renewed interest in the Spinner dolphins from various tourism businesses who wish to send boats to the reef so tourists can see or swim with these dolphins. However the introduction of new and unregulated boats and tourists to the reef with no Management Plan in place poses a huge threat to these intelligent and beautiful animals.
This project will raise awareness in local Schools and villages about the threats facing the Spinner dolphins and marine environment and what the negative impacts will be on the local community should dolphins and local reefs not be protected for the long-term. Assistance and resources will be provided by the International Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society and the Fiji Department of Fisheries to help establish a sustainable Management Plan for the Spinner dolphins and the fishing grounds.
The local community will gain a greater understanding of sustainable management practices and we will help them to develop sustainable alternative livelihoods including new ecotourism projects which will be 100% community owned and operated. Local Schoolchildren will grow up with the knowledge and tools available to make more informed choices about living sustainably and how to protect their beautiful, natural environment.