By Sophie Birkett - Head of Operations, Charitable Trust
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.
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