Today Fiji’s Great Sea Reef launches the 1st in a network of 5 Marine Protected Areas (MPA), that, when completed will form one of the worlds largest underwater sanctuaries. Areas of these MPA’s will be known as ‘tabu’ zones where no fishing or harvesting of marine resources can take place.
Fiji’s Great Sea Reef is the 3rd longest barrier reef in the world. It has not been well studied, so the extent of its diversity is yet to be discovered. WWF conducted a 12 day survey, after which they reported there to be “a staggering array of life.” This survey also noted that there were significant threats to the Great Sea Reef from over-fishing and poaching by illegal fishers, poison fishing, sand dredging and other activities associated with a developing coastline.
Yesterday the Conservation Leadership Award was presented to Fiji’s government and the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMA) network members to acknowledge the conservation effort and commitment to establishing the MPA network covering 30% of the country’s waters by 2020.
This is an encouraging development that could raise the profile of marine conservation.