Fiji fisheries forum and Serua island visit
Last month, International Programs Manager BeomJin (BJ) Kim and CEO David Morris visited Fiji to attend the Fisheries Forum run by EDO NSW’s partner, the Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA).
By BJ Kim, International Programs Coordinator EDO NSW
22 February 2017
The forum provided an update on the sustainable management of marine resources through law in Fiji. Attendees included representatives from government ministries, regional non-governmental organisations, the private sector, the community and lawyers. The forum builds on Fiji’s environmental law and policy developments to date, including domestic initiatives and international activities, such as co-presiding over the UN Ocean Conference in June 2017 and presiding over the UN Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC COP23) in November 2017.
The focus on the first day at the forum was the presentation by BJ to stakeholders of three papers on the regulation of coastal fisheries, marine protected areas and an integrated oceans management policy by EDO NSW and FELA. These considered the existing legal framework for the protection of marine resources and areas and made suggestions for law and policy reform.
The second day was a site visit to Serua Island, a small and beautiful island on the south coast of Viti Levu, about an hour from Suva towards Nadi, and a Marine Protected Area (MPA). Local leaders explained the fisheries management initiatives used on or around the island. These include a Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) run by Serua villagers through the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) network, and preserving giant clams from Makogai Marine Reserve that suffered damage in recent cyclones. While some enforcement issues remain, these initiatives demonstrate improvements in the management of marine resources.
On Serua island. Photo by Cyrielle Randrianarivony.
The presentations were well received and the forum well covered in local media. Fiji One TV had a televised news report (also on Facebook) and a news article. The Fiji Times also covered the forum. Fiji One TV had a televised report about the field trip and the Fiji Sun wrote an article about it, focusing on poaching issues.
This was a good opportunity for EDO NSW to continue providing capacity development support to FELA, one of our partners in the Pacific. We’re told the papers have been very well received and have raised FELA’s profile in the fisheries and environmental law sector. It is hoped the Fisheries Forum will lead to the strengthening of legal and policy protections of marine and ocean resources in Fiji.