In a Fiji paper today there's a discussion on qoliqoli in Macuata and the value of protected areas. (No mention of the aberration one time in munching on turtles. Anyway...)
Bigger fishes provide proof of tabu benefits
Saturday, July 26, 2008
Fisheries officer Sunia Waqainabete at a qoliqoli community meeting in Labasa
BOUNTIFUL fish stocks of sizes unseen in many years has invigorated the desire of fishing ground owners in the districts of Mali, Sasa, Dreketi and Macuata to conserve their environment.
Catches of bigger fish, an increase in the number of fish species that were becoming hard to find, healthy marine delicacies and fishing closer to shore are some of the benefits villagers along the Macuata coastline have been experiencing from the declaration of nine marine protected areas in 2004.
At a meeting two months ago at Naduri Village, the fishing ground owners recommended 12 more marine specific areas and two forest areas to be declared protected.
"These fishing ground owners are witnessing the benefits of conserving the environment so there is an added zest in their attitudes," Sanivalati Navuku, of the World Wide Fund for Nature said.
Mr Navuku was coordinating a public meeting that included hotel owners, forestry and fisheries officials and members of the public seeking feedback on the intention of the owners of fishing grounds in Mali, Sasa, Dreketi and Macuata to declare 12 more marine protected or tabu areas.
"This is an open community meeting, one of the meetings that is part of the process of reconfiguring the network of Macuata protected areas," Mr Navuku said. "This is a meeting that has been advised by the project partners and the qoliqoli committee to give an opportunity to the public and the government agencies in representatives from the different agencies to come and sit in and listen to the development of the project in Macuata and give their recommendations or their feedback to this process," he added.
Feedback forms are making their rounds in villages along the Macuata coastline.
"WWF will compile all the feedback and present it to the qoliqoli committee, which will make a decision on the 12 new areas that have been recommended to become protected.
"They will decide whether to lift the tabu on protected areas," he added.
Mr Navuku said the concept of marine protected areas had raised the level of awareness among villagers on the need to protect the environment. "As they take part in MPAs they become more knowledgeable about the importance of conserving the environment for future generations and it benefits them already," he said.