Wednesday, 30 July 2008

The future is now for youths in MPAs - Fiji Times Online

The future is now for youths in MPAs - Fiji Times Online

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

The involvement of youths in village project often indicates their commitment to their future.

It shows their understanding that the project not only concerns them but their future generation.

The youths of Waitabu on the island of Taveuni are no exception.

Since the establishment of their Marine Reserve Park or Marine Protected Area 10 years ago, it has been part of their (youths) daily life, learning and understanding its importance from the elders.

Helen Sykes, a Marine Ecology consultant and ecologist, who initiated the marine park still remembers the day she arrived in the village the youths were then still children or young teenagers.

But today, those children have grown into youths and are now monitoring the park and act as snorkel guides for tourists who visit occasionally.

"One of the big changes that always surprises me is the small children who were here when I first started but now have now become snorkel guides," she said.

"The children in the village of Waitabu have grown up always having a marine protected area.

"I can't wait to see these children now, in another 10 years when they become teenagers and young adults who have always had an MPA provided by their elders."

Another 18 youths underwent a marine tour guide training this year including those from Wai and Vurevure. The training was done by Resort Support and CORAL (Coral Reef Alliance).

They used the Marine Tourism Education course by Ms Sykes which has recently been recognised by the Training and Productivity of Fiji (TPAF).

The Waitabu youths are very passionate when they talk about their involvement in the marine park project.

Akostino Apao, a snorkel guide said, he was prepared to fight if he found someone poaching from their marine protected area. He said the MPA was his and his children's future.

The village recently celebrated the park's 10th anniversary and it was the youths who took part in the traditional yaqona ceremony as a show of appreciation for something they believe in.

Arieta Divialagi, who is now the manager of the marine park, was one of the young people in the village who has grown up with the marine park and seen its benefits.

She is now married with three children and even though her children are young they are already aware of the importance of the marine park.

"Since the setting up of this marine protected area we have seen many changes and we have benefited greatly in terms of it providing us with food. We are so passionate about out marine protected area because we've basically grown up with it," Ms Divialagi said.

The village has never opened its tabu area, which is about 0.27square kilometres.

It was originally an over-fished and severely depleted area but now is unbelievably filled with fish species, normal coral cover and giant clams, trochus shells and invertebrates.

Even after five years of protection the villagers and those doing the biological report of the marine park saw a vast change as the marine life population reached their peak and had stabilised and remained fairly constant in succeeding years despite poaching pressures on some fish species, said Sykes.

In their survey according to Resort Support they found coral bleaching in 2000 reduced coral cover for some years but over the past three years it had improved in the MPA and fishing ground slopes but not the flats.

Algal cover has dropped in the MPA because of grazing by increased numbers of invertebrate animals and fish, particularly the large schools of surgeonfish.

Surgeonfish remove algae and clean substrate for new corals to grow.

But this is not so in the fishing grounds, which people use because of over-fishing.

Coral breakage is not seen in the MPA because people have ceased to walk on them so there is more branching Acropora corals now make up a high percentage of live hard coral in the MPA.

Clams (vasua) was one of the most successful in the MPA because when they started in 1998 there were no clams found but within that year bout eight small clams appeared.

After five years of protection some had reached adult size and the population increased and now there are about 30 to 40 adult size which are the breeding size.

Immature clams were found and it is believed that the clams are now spawning or attracting larval clams into the area.

However, they found a few empty clam shells over the past two years. It is likely to be caused by natural predation or disease rather than poaching because they found two clams of the same size next to the dead one still intact and alive.

While marine life is thriving in the marine reserve the fishing ground is benefiting as villagers now get more fish and sea urchins (cawaki) and octopus.

But poaching is a big issue as nearby villagers are aware of the abundance of fish and invertebrates in the MPA.

The future is now for youths in MPAs - Fiji Times Online

Sunday, 27 July 2008

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count 2008

A blog about The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count which will be held around Fiji from the 2nd to the 8th November 2008. In the International Year of the Coral Reef (2008), you have the opportunity to help celebrate and record Fiji’s amazing coral reef biodiversity, show you care about our world’s delicate coral reef systems, and have fun, by taking part in a week-long hunt for the Great Fiji Butterflyfish!

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count 2008 Blog

DAN DIVERS DAY in Graz, Austria on September 7th 2008

Dear Diver,

As you might have read before, DAN Europe is organising a free DAN DIVERS DAY in Austria on September 7th 2008.

Speakers for this event are internationally known DAN area directors and diving medicine experts. They will present dive safety, diving medicine, and other dive-related topics of interest to the scuba diving community in the main auditorium at the Graz University Hospital.

We are pleased to inform you that the registrations for this event are now open.

A detailed program and more info about the DAN DAY can be found on our online “events” page, or you can click here to access this page directly. You can register for this congress online, using your “MY DAN” page at our website (

If you did not register as a user on our website yet, you will first need to do this in order to get access to your personal “MY DAN” page.

In your “MY DAN” page you will not only be able to register for this free congress, but you also will have the possibility to book one or more of the optional services like a certificate of participation, lunch packet and/or headset for the simultaneous translations (English-German, German-English).

The official language of the congress is English. Therefore the info about the congress will be available only in English and German ( the language of the country where the congress is held).

We also would like to invite you to regularly visit the event page as we will be updating the info regularly.

Please be aware that there only are 300 available seats. We recommend to book as soon as possible if you want to participate in this unique congress.

Kindest regards and hoping to see you in Graz,

DAN Europe

Friday, 25 July 2008

Community-Based Marine Conservation Workshop - Fiji

Community-Based Marine Conservation Workshop - Fiji

Fiji to Host Major Marine Conservation Meeting
Fiji will be the site of a major marine conservation meeting, "Views from Experience in Community - Based Marine Conservation", to be held from 24-29 June, 1999. Participants will include staff of the Biodiversity Conservation Network (BCN) from Washington, D.C., the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation in Chicago, and representatives from three marine conservation projects in Fiji, the Solomon Islands and Indonesia.
BCN is a 7-year program funded by the United States Agency for International Development that supported twenty community-based projects across Asia and the Pacific using enterprise as a tool to conserve biodiversity. This workshop is part of BCN's final efforts to evaluate the effectiveness of using an enterprise-based approach to conservation.
The Fiji project has been organised by the University of the South Pacific, the Fiji government, and SPACHEE, and takes place in Verata, Tailevu. This tikina has developed a marine bioprospecting enterprise and has established a trust fund to manage the proceeds. In addition, the participating communities have developed marine resource management plans which include a ban on turtle killing and coral harvest, a hiatus on issuing commercial fishing licenses and a declaration of tabu areas to encourage resource replenishment. Community members have also been trained to monitor the populations of indicator species to judge the success of their efforts. In eighteen months, the number of kaikoso in the tabu zone has increased sixfold and has doubled in adjacent areas.
The first four days of the workshop will take place in Ucunivanua, the chiefly village of Verata. Representatives of the three projects will share their experiences and identify what they have learned. From these discussions they will prepare presentations. On Tuesday, 29 June they will deliver these to an audience of key government and non-government personnel at the USP Science Lecture Theatre, SPAS, starting at 8.30 am. This will be followed by a general discussion.
BCN is part of the Biodiversity Support Program (BSP) which is managed by a Consortium of the World Wildlife Fund, The Nature Conservancy and World Resources Institute. BSP's mission is to promote conservation of the world's biological diversity and to maximise the impact of U.S. government resources directed toward international biodiversity conservation.
For further information : contact Bill Aalbersberg 212440

Experiences and Results: 1993 - 1999
Community-based marine conservation experiences
will be presented and discussed.
Please join us with several partners from our
projects in Asia and the Pacific.
Date: Tuesday, 29 June 1999 Time: 8:30 - 15:00
Place: University of South Pacific (USP) Campus
Science (SPAS) Building, Room N111
Science Lecture Theatre, Suva
For more information phone 313 900 x2416
Community-Based Marine Conservation Workshop - Fiji

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

WWF - Tabu waters: Protecting Fiji’s Great Sea Reef

Dakuwaqa, the shark god, would have heard the ruckus coming from the small village of Naduri in a verdant corner of the Fijian archipelago on the morning of a new beginning.

Ancient fishing chants, many of which hadn’t been performed in more than 50 years, and a lavish feast of local delicacies — clams, seaweeds, taro leaves, mangoes, guavas, coconuts and pineapples — were prepared over days for villagers and visitors alike. A pig was roasted, graceful seasea fan dances and fierce spear dances enacted, gifts bestowed, kava drunk, and a whale’s tooth passed around for good luck.

All this for the opening of the country’s first marine protected area? Yes. That’s what a waitui tabu (prohibited zone) is these days, a cause for celebration, especially when it will protect parts of Fiji’s Great Sea Reef — the world’s third largest barrier reef and home to a staggering array of life, some still unknown to science.

Fiji is leading the pack of coastal nations by committing to the establishment of a network of marine protected areas (MPAs) by 2020. The area, covering 30 per cent of its territorial waters or 39 million hectares, will be the largest system of underwater sanctuaries in the world.

“Protecting the reef will ensure that one of our greatest assets remains intact and continues to be an important part of the traditions, culture and livelihoods of the people of Fiji,” said Etika Rupeni of WWF’s South Pacific Office in Fiji.

“Marine protected areas the world over are proving to be one of the most effective ways for coastal dwellers to safeguard their dwindling food supplies and preserve precious biodiversity.”

Damsel in distress
Captain James Cook, the 18th century British explorer who mapped the South Pacific, including Fiji, is often referred to as the founder of modern oceanography. Among his many discoveries was a linguistic one, the term “taboo” (or “tabu”) — a word that has traveled as widely as Cook himself and is now used throughout the English-speaking world. It still retains, however, its meaning in Polynesia — a prohibition imposed by social custom.

Waitui tabu, or prohibited fishing zones, have been set aside in Fiji’s Great Sea Reef to conserve the most diverse amount of species and habitats as possible. Covering more than 200,000km2, the reef — locally known as Cakaulevu — is home to thousands of marine species, including marine turtles, dolphins, sharks, and 43 new hard coral species. The reef is also an important fishing ground for local communities.

“If you see this place, you would consider yourself the luckiest person on Earth,” said marine biologist Aaron Jenkins, who dives regularly in the Great Sea Reef and is still awed by its extraordinary diversity of life. “The colours, the fish and coral, and most of all, what we still don’t know about it, are amazing.”

During a 12-day survey of the reef undertaken by WWF and its partners at the end of 2004, the team found a species of damsel fish (Pomacentrus sp.) previously unknown to science, as well as 12 threatened species, including 10 species of fish, green turtles and spinner dolphins. The survey also identified significant threats to the Great Sea Reef, such as overfishing and poaching by illegal fishers, poison fishing, sand dredging, and other development activities.

In efforts to protect the fragile environment, local village chiefs in Fiji have launched the first of the reef’s network of marine protected areas.

“It is important to look at a wider scale of management by capturing the interactions between a range of sites, protecting migratory corridors of more mobile species and maintaining ecological processes,” said Jenkins, the survey’s chief scientist.

Marine protected areas are crucial. They are about preserving the integrity of the wider marine environment across connected systems.”

Protecting tabu areas
In a country where the abiding principle of veisolisoli and kerekere (give and take) is woven into the fabric of society, the concept of marine stewardship is considered common sense. But, years of overfishing, pollution, and destructive harvesting of live coral and exotic fish have eroded Fiji’s underwater paradise.

This is in addition to the plundering of Fiji’s genetic resources where important plant and marine species are being ripped out of the ground and sea for the highly profitable cosmetic, pharmaceutical, agriculture and biotechnology industries — often without the consent of local resource owners.

Efforts, however, are being made to reign in the free-for-all.

The creation of locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) are empowering coastal communities to take matters into their own hands. The Fiji LMMA drives community-based marine conservation by working closely with 40 traditional fishing grounds (qoliqoli). To date, there are 109 LMMA sites in Fiji, covering about 15 per cent of the country’s coastal areas. Witnessing the positive impacts LMMAs are having on local livelihoods, more and more communities are rushing to establish similar programmes.

The benefits of combining traditional and scientific knowledge and methods can be seen in one of the originating communities of this quiet revolution. The residents of Ucunivanua in Fiji’s Verata district, for example, can attest to the benefits of such locally managed areas. Lamenting the decline in the numbers of kaikoso (ark clams) — a key source of food and a marketable commodity — the community decided to take action by reviving tabu practices to protect breeding areas. As a result, clam populations have increased 300 per cent annually in these areas, and by 200 per cent in spillover areas. Incomes over three years have risen by 35 per cent.

“The fish in my protected area are so tame that when you dive down to count them they wink at you,” said one local Fijian fisherman jokingly.

“The underwater residents of my protected area are so happy that they practically flop themselves into the boat," said another.

Replenishing waters for future generations
A notable initiative from Verata is a bio-prospecting arrangement with a pharmaceutical company which has seen US$30,000 put into a trust fund to sustain local conservation work. Another community is managing its coral reefs and generating income by sustainably collecting “live rock” (dead coral or rock covered with algae that is used in aquariums to form a reef base for tropical fish) for the marine aquarium trade.

The Verata initiative and other projects have since merged to share information and resources in a Fiji-wide network of community representatives and NGOs, of which WWF was a founding member.

“The network story is truly an outstanding one, demonstrating how local communities, NGOs and the government can work together to improve livelihoods and protect one’s natural heritage, and indeed, a nation,” said WWF International President Chief Emeka Anyaoku, who presented the government of Fiji and local communities with WWF ’s Conservation Leadership Award.

“As a small island state we are equipped with a special sensitivity that makes us keenly aware of environmental changes,” added Fiji’s Fisheries Minister Konisi Tabu Yabaki. “We, just like our forefathers, know that if we do not maintain the health of our environment, our way of life will be threatened. Waitui tabu simply makes sense.”

WWF is working in the world’s most sensitive and biologically diverse regions to help protect ocean habitat and support commercial fisheries. The global conservation organization is establishing individual marine protected areas and ensuring that they are supported by local people so that they can be managed effectively. Each park fits into a network of protected areas that represents the diversity of habitats within a given marine ecological region.

“The community is grateful for the support,” said Chief Ratu Aisea Katonivere of Macuata Province. “We hope it will begin the journey to bring back the richness of these once plentiful waters, not only for ourselves, but also for our children.”

*This feature was prepared by the press department at WWF -Australia


• The islands of the Fiji archipelago, which number more than 300, are scattered over a 1.3 million sq km area and are part of one of the largest and most extensive reef systems to be found. More than 98 per cent of Fiji’s territory is ocean and more than 80 per cent of Fiji’s 800,000 plus residents live along the coast. Fiji’s economy depends heavily on its foreign exchange earnings from fisheries and tourism. Fiji's marine resources are also important to customary marine owners who rely on the reefs for subsistence, livelihood and source of income.

• The WWF -led Great Sea Reef expedition included divers from Wetlands International, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the University of the South Pacific Institute of Applied Science, local community members and international experts, with funding support from the Vodafone Foundation.

Dakuwaqa is the guardian of the reefs and is revered as a god of seafaring and fishing communities in Fijian legend. In his honour, all sharks were saluted when seen and it was considered tabu to eat shark flesh. When canoes passed over areas where Dakuwaqa was known to frequent, cups of yaqona and morsels of food were thrown overboard to gain his favour.

WWF - Tabu waters: Protecting Fiji’s Great Sea Reef

Airlines tracked by Yapta

Airlines tracked by Yapta

Yapta aims to provide airfare price tracking on as many airlines as possible - especially those you travel with the most. If you'd like to be notified when Yapta extends its price tracking capabilities to additional airlines, subscribe to the RSS feed available on the Yapta Blog.

Below is a list of the airlines that have airfares tracked by Yapta. Please note that Yapta does not track the price of "booked" (or purchased) tickets on carriers that do not have a "Guaranteed Airfare Policy." Airlines that do not have a Guaranteed Airfare Policy will not provide vouchers or credits if the price of a booked ticket becomes available at a lower price.

*KLM - Online Customers departing out of the USA are directed to purchase their tickets from Northwest Airlines

Monday, 21 July 2008

A guardian of the sea - Fiji Times Online

Okostino Apao ... protecting the sea

Okostino Apao ... protecting the sea

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

The love for his fishing ground and a request from his dying mother prompted 23-year-old Okostino Apao to put his studies on hold and look after the village marine protected area.

Apao is originally from Rotuma but grew up in his mother's village of Waitabu on Taveuni.

As Apao grew up, he never really understood the importance of the work his late mother Sala did, which is to manage the village marine protected area, now known as the Waitabu Marine Park as it is frequently visited by tourists.

Sala was the force behind the setting up of the park with the help of Marine Ecology Fiji Consultant, Helen Sykes.

After completing Form Seven on Taveuni, Apao enrolled at the Fiji Institute of Technology, but had to return to help his sick mother with her work. Sadly, she died in 2006.

Since then, Apao said, he has continued to do the work his mother did and has never regretted leaving FIT because he loved every moment at sea.

"She used to tell us the benefits of the work that she was doing but we never really bothered. We were also angry with her for leaving us many times and going overseas because of her work," he said as tears welled up in his eyes.

"But she was passionate about what she was doing and even though she had high blood pressure and was sickly she still carried on with her work. I tried to find out why she was so enthusiastic about the project so I involved myself in monitoring the area with other youth and people in the village.

"Through my participation I realised what she was doing was really important but sadly for me, she died after only seven months of working with her.

A guardian of the sea - Fiji Times Online

Sunday, 20 July 2008

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count 2008

Welcome to The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count !

2nd to 8th November 2008

Fiji Butterfylfish Count 2008In the International Year of the Coral Reef (2008), you have the opportunity to help celebrate and record Fiji’s amazing coral reef biodiversity, show you care about our world’s delicate coral reef systems, and have fun, by taking part in a week-long hunt for the Great Fiji Butterflyfish!

Easy to do, this is suitable for visitors and locals alike, whether you are a snorkeler, SCUBA diver or Glass-bottom boat passenger. We hope that tourists, school children, scientists and all people with an interest in the marine environment will take to the reefs with us to search for Butterflyfish.

Double Saddled Butterflyfish, FijiThe Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count
will be held around Fiji from the 2nd to the 8th November 2008. You can do a single count during that week, or take place as many times as you like during that week, so that you cover different reefs. All data will be gratefully accepted!

So, grab your Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count slate from participating resorts and dive operators, put on your snorkel and mask and dive into the beautiful blue waters of Fiji, to be a part of history!

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count 2008

Friday, 18 July 2008

Thursday, 17 July 2008

New Taveuni Resort : Nakia Resort and Dive

Taveuni Island in Fiji is renowned the world over for its scuba diving, primarily because of its proximity to the world-class Rainbow Reef.

These Taveuni dive sites include the Great White Wall, the Cabbage Patch and more.

The island is blessed with great natural beauty and is large enough to combine your diving days with dive-free days visiting waterfalls, Fijian villages, hiking etc. The new coast road in Taveuni is fantastic for those interested in mountain biking. The road is sealed, winds along the coastline providing fantastic views, and best of all - little traffic!

One new resort that is perfectly sited for all the above activities is sunset-facing Nakia Resort and Dive Taveuni.

Offering three bures with panoramic views, a pool, restaurant and great food, Nakia is owner-operated. This ensures you get the very best of service and hospitality on your well-earned Fiji Diving Vacation.

Viti Water Sports Nadi for Fiji Travel and Fiji Diving

Viti Water Sports is a 5 Star PADI dive operation, selling a large range of diving and snorkelling equipment in Fiji. They also offer a Fiji travel service, with or without diving. Repair and maintenance of dive equipment is their speciality. They are conveniently located in Martintar, half way between Nadi Town and Nadi International Airport.

Viti Water Sports also run diving operations out of Matamanoa Island Resort in the Mamanucas and Waisalima Beach Resort on Kadavu, where divers can experience diving on the world famous ' Great Astrolabe Reef '.

Scuba Diving News - Fiji Travel News

New Marine Reserve at Tokoriki Island in Fiji to regenerate giant clams

In the fringing reefs off Fiji's Tokoriki Island Resort, divers could - up to 40-50 years ago - marvel at the unique and fascinating giant clams there. However, like many reefs around the world, stocks of this unique marinelife had sadly been depleted for many decades.

In an effort to regenerate giant clams in this area, and in conjunction with PADI's Project AWARE and Fiji's Ministery of Fisheries, Dive Tropex Tokoriki have commenced 'The Tokoriki Island Giant Clam Regeneration Project', by planting three species of the clams on the reef. The clams, will be carefully protected and monitored by the dive operation in a bid to once again introduce the Giant Clams to the reefs they once inhabited.

The Best Diving in Fiji at the 'Cannibal Islands'

Fiji is a holiday destination with so much to offer: hiking, nature, fabulous beaches and wonderful local people, that sometimes the quality of its diving can be overlooked. Anyone who has been on a diving holiday here, however, will tell quite a different story. Read on for details of the dive sites you can explore from our Fiji liveaboard cruises and dive resorts.

Diving over soft corals - photo courtesy of Mike Greenfelder

Conditions and underwater sights vary greatly here and while some places are tranquil and great for learning, most sites will enjoy some current, ranging from barely perceptible to very strong. It is this presence of current that makes the scuba diving in Fiji so rich.

Currents are the lifeblood of Fiji's reefs, kick-starting the food chain by sweeping nutrients to both corals and fish alike. Fiji is known as "The Soft Coral Capital of the World" and when the current flows the corals bloom into fabulous displays of colourful splendour. The currents also affect the water's visibility which can be the best around, with incoming currents bringing clear sea water into the lagoons and outgoing currents removing any cloudy lagoon water.

Lagoons are a feature of the islands and often the water remains shallow until some distance from shore. This means most Fiji diving is conducted from boat and also that the shorelines are great for adults and children alike to go snorkelling and swimming.

The Best Fiji Diving Destinations

Kadavu Diving: The Best Hard Corals in Fiji

Kadavu Diving: The Best Hard Corals in Fiji

The Great Astrolabe Reef is still the jewel in the Kadavu diving crown and is a reef now well known among divers throughout the world. The reef is about 100 km long, making it the fourth largest barrier reef in the world. It stretches from the south side of the island near Vunisea, and runs along the south coast before looping around Ono Island and ending off the east coast of the main island. The reef boasts a variety of stunning hard coral outer reef slopes in wonderous colours, and steep soft coral drop-offs. The dive sites here exhibit a tremendous variety with several passages, submerged pinnacles and manta ray cleaning stations adding to the reasons why Kadavu is a great spot for several days diving.

Kadavu Diving: The Best Hard Corals in Fiji

SeaLife Cameras - Underwater Digital Camera - DC800

DC800 Camera Housing
SeaLife, the world's leading maker of underwater dive cameras, introduces its most advanced digital camera. Sleek, modern design meets high-tech functionality in SeaLife´s new DC800 8-megapixel camera.

With 5 new dive-specific color correction modes, the DC800 makes it easier than ever to take sharp, colorful underwater pictures. Set the camera to Sea mode to restore lost colors typical for underwater pictures. Easily expand the camera with one or two SeaLife external flash accessories. Quick shutter response for fast action photography.

Long lasting lithium battery for all day of diving. Automatic focus from 2" to infinity. Large format continuous video recording with sound. Depth tested to 200ft. Fully rubber armored for shock protection. 1-year warranty covers the underwater housing and camera.

SeaLife Cameras - Underwater Digital Camera - DC800

Google says: "Don't promote products obtained from endangered or threatened species"

Policy Home > Text ads > Content > Endangered Species

Don't promote products obtained from endangered or threatened species.

Advertising is not permitted for products obtained from endangered or threatened species. This includes, but is not limited to, the sale of products derived from elephants, sharks, tigers, whales, rhinoceroses, or dolphins.

Google AdWords Help Center

From: "Deanna Yick"
Sent: Tue, 15 Jul 2008
Subject: update re: AdWords policy

Hi John,

I hope this email finds you well. I wanted to share the news that Google AdWords has implemented a new policy regarding endangered or threatened species, including sharks. This has been updated on our content policy page, which you can view here:
Google AdWords Help Center

Please let me know if you have any questions, and thanks again for your patience as our policy team worked through the process of evaluating and implementing this policy.


Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Fiji : The Short Story: Coral Reef Alliance

Since beginning our work in Fiji in 2003, CORAL is now seeing real and measurable progress from our Coral Reef Sustainable Destination (CRSD) approach. We have designed a business plan and are developing sustainable financing projects for the Namena Marine Reserve, and we provide technical support to the Kubulau Management Resource Committee (KMRC)—a community-based body charged with managing the region’s marine resources—in its operation of the marine reserve. We facilitate close working relationships between marine recreation providers and members of the local community on issues of marine area management and decision-making.

And on the nearby island of Taveuni, we assist the Waitabu Marine Park with improvements to its local management of the reef.

In addition to a dedicated Indo-Pacific program manager located at CORAL’s San Francisco headquarters, we employ two Fiji-based field staff to aid in all program execution.

Our Projects | Coral Reef Alliance:

Sunday, 13 July 2008

Websites opened for marine protected areas - Fiji Times Online

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

THE only international organisation working exclusively mainly to protect coral reefs from the effects of global climate change has taken a bold step to promote local culture and richness.

The Coral Reef Alliance has launched two community-driven tourist websites for marine protected areas in Fiji.

The dedicated websites are for Namena Marine Reserve situated at Kubulau in Bua and the Waitabu Marine Park on Taveuni in the biodiversity waters of Fiji.

The websites: and was launched in America last Friday.

It features details such as visitor information, local community profiles and facts about park operations, providing an essential resource for tourists, conservationists, members of the local government and communities, and non-government organisations.

Made possible by the generous support of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation, the two websites were designed with extensive participation by local community members as a means of sharing traditional cultural knowledge with potential visitors and engaging the local population in the conservation of its precious natural resources.

Waitabu Village chief Tui Nasau is keen on promoting their natural resources and share the warm nature of the locals.

"In village life, we help each other and work together. Everything is done as a community. We would like to share our marine park with more visitors for it to become a truly self-sustaining operation," said the chief.

Known to be one of the best scuba diving spots in Fiji, the roughly 40-square-mile Namena Marine Reserve is home to many endemic and rare species. Established in 1997, the reserve stretches between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu.

Waitabu Marine Park is a vibrant reef set aside for the benefit of tourism and education.

Websites opened for marine protected areas - Fiji Times Online

Hilton Head

If you've been to Hilton Head Island before, then you've probably relaxed on one of the beautiful beaches, played on one of the golf courses or shopped and dined at several of the great shopping centers and restaurants. You may have even stayed in a fantastic beachside Hilton Head resort or Hilton Head ocean front rental property. Hilton Head South Carolina has a wealth of activities and lovely beaches for everyone. Already discovered by golf and tennis lovers worldwide, the courses and clubs are ranked among the top in the world. Hilton Head Island offers a peaceful getaway and great resort accommodations, vacation homes, Hilton Head condo rentals and villa rentals, all in a charming and historical setting ideal for those who want to just relax and watch the sun set into the water. Hilton Head Island : a great place to relax and get away from it all in South Carolina!

Friday, 11 July 2008

Elias memorable moment - Fiji Times Online

Elias memorable moment - Fiji Times Online

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Elia Gasaiwai still reminisces about the days when men and women from his village would go to the reef in front of the village and return with their catch in just a few hours.

They would return from fishing every day with enough for the whole family and there was not a day they would come back home empty-handed.

He is now 64-years-old and said those were the good old days when everything was in abundance, especially fish.

They never used fishing lines but women would go out to the reefs with their small nets and the men with their spears.

The spears were often made of a long thin bamboo stick with several sharp, short iron rods tied with a wire at one end.

"It was also fun to go with other boys and look for fish. When we see a school of fish gathered we would take a stone and throw it towards them and they would swim towards their own fish holes where some of us will be waiting," he said.

"The fish are not able to escape and the only thing they do is go on top of the reef and hide their heads any where they can find space in the rock with their tails exposed. That is when we spear them or even catch them with our hands."

Saturday was the day when men would go out and fish for their Sunday lunch and they would return home with so much fish, recalls Gasaiwai.

He said it was his mother who introduced fishing lines to the women in the village and he believes this was the cause for overfishing in their fishing grounds.

"My mother is from Lau and she taught the village women how to fish with fishing lines and hooks and how to know when a fish bites," he said.

In 1964 Gasawai went to Suva to work and when he returned 15 years later, the fishing ground that used to be full of fish and marine life which he remembered as a child was gone.

In its place was dead coral, fewer and smaller fish.

Pointing towards the reef in front of the village he said: "Look over there, that reef used to be full of corals but you cannot see them any more. They are gone and that was caused by my people because when we had no fish they would go out into the sea and break the reef to catch the fish that were hiding in holes."

"And we were doing that because we did not have enough fish.

"We felt the impact of having less and less fish and more and more time spent looking for fish and seashells.

"I am one of the few who has passed through the time of abundance and the time of poverty in this reef."

But then they heard about having marine protected areas so they approached Marine Ecology Fiji consultant and ecologist Helen Sykes.

"She came here, took a look at our reefs and said 'No' because the condition of our reefs was so bad and did not look like it could recover but we insisted and finally persuaded her to come. And she is the one who has been motivating and encouraging us to go on and do things by ourselves," he said.

"She taught us not to depend on other organisations all the time to fund us and I think that is why we have come this far."

However, he said one of the difficulties they faced was from poachers.

"The problem about this qoliqoli is that all these villagers in the area can fish on any of our reefs because it is a common qoliqoli," he said.

"Some of them do not care about the tabu because they believe it also belongs to them so that is why they come out at night and spear dive at the marine park. But it is sad that they do not understand that it is the marine park that will replenish their reefs because we need a reservoir and that is what this marine park does.

"When it is full they spill over to the other fishing grounds and our women are now discovering the benefits of this marine park. They are now catching fish and big octopus, clams and seashells on our fishing ground."

Gasaiwai said he was the proudest man at the 10th anniversary of the Waitabu Marine Park because he had been there at the start of the marine park until its 10th anniversary.

By Friday afternoon before the celebration the whole village was into the last stage of their preparation because the next day was the special day they had eagerly awaited for the past 10 years and everyone was excited.

On Friday night Gasaiwai called his people together to the bure they had built at the marine park.

He reminded them that the next day was the one they had been waiting for so long and they had to make it the most special by working together even if it would mean a small turnout from the invited guests.

On Friday night everyone was preparing food as the village had bought a cow to feed the visitors and nearby villagers who would attend the celebration.

The women also decorated the bure at the Marine Reserve Park where the celebration was going to be held.

Before dawn the next morning, everyone including the youth was up and about cooking while the older women were raking flowers from the vau trees near the bure.

There are about 22 families in the village and a population of 80 people who all turned up at the celebration. Many of them did not sleep that night as they wanted the day to be the best and it was.

Everyone turned up in their colourful clothes including the children and Gasaiwai said they wanted to include their children in the celebration because they were going to benefit from it.

And if they learnt to appreciate their marine park there would be more fish for them and their future generation. - Ms Nakeke is a Ocean Science Reporter with SeaWeb. SeaWeb is a non government organisation that helps the media promote and protect a healthy ocean.

Elias memorable moment - Fiji Times Online

Beauty under water - Fiji Times Online

Sunday, June 01, 2008

TWENTY years ago villagers of Waitabu on the north eastern coast of Taveuni would never a give a second thought about their reefs or what dwelled on their shores. They walked on the reefs breaking the corals and took home whatever they could eat no matter how small.

There was heavy seaweed growth because there was no more fish to feed on it.

The state of the Waitabu Village coast was so pathetic that at first sight, Helen Sykes, a marine ecologist, had no hope it could return to its natural state and refused when approached by the community to set up a marine protected area (MPA) or tabu on their fishing ground. But with the community's continual persistence Ms Sykes agreed.

As the project began, the community was constantly reminded that once the tabu was in place, they were to respect it. They were taught not to disturb the area by taking boats through the MPA or break any corals or take anything out whether it be fish, invertebrates or any dead coral. They were also not allowed to use poles when sailing across the tabu area or anchor their boats as it would damage the corals.

Ms Sykes then held workshops with the villagers to monitor the tabu area. The monitoring was done to find out whether there was an improvement in the tabu area and if not, what could be done about it.

Beauty under water - Fiji Times Online

Tuesday, 8 July 2008


We have never seen reefs with such spectacular colour and abundance of fishlife as we found with NAI'A in Fiji. The shallow reef tops in particular ended each dive in a mind-blowing sensory overload that inspired this video. We just felt these views had to be shared with the world!

- Josh Jensen & Liz Harlin, filmmakers

Former NAI'A cruise directors have released a unique DVD designed to revolutionise living spaces by transforming TV screens into a window on the world's most stunning coral reefs.


Josh Jensen and Liz Harlin are now based in Australia as underwater imagery specialists with their own company, Undersea Productions Their latest project, Reefscapes: Nature's Aquarium, presents the spectacular beauty of Fiji's coral reefs "as if you were right there," said Jensen.

"We created it for homeowners looking for something colourful, dynamic and beautiful to showcase on their flatscreen TV.

"There's no dialogue, no story, just the sheer beauty of coral reefs - the ultimate work of art."

ReefscapesNature's Aquarium was filmed throughout Central Fiji while the duo worked (yeah, right) as NAI'A cruise directors and dive guides. The show is an hour-long collection of 137 seamlessly unfolding ocean scenes.

According to Harlin, most aquarium DVDs available are merely videos of a fish tank.

"But Nature's Aquarium is different because it is filmed on actual reefs," she said.

"The camera is fixed, so you still get the aquarium feel – except the action unfolds freely, not within the confines of glass walls, but in the South Pacific's limitless blue."

Nature's Aquarium includes a bonus feature called Reefscapes: A Closer Look. It's a 20-minute virtual dive allowing the viewer to meet the colourful characters on Fiji's reefs using optional identifying subtitles.

A preview from Nature's Aquarium can be watched on the Undersea Productions website, and the DVD can be purchased online for $19.95 plus shipping. Visit

Saturday, 5 July 2008

DISCOVER FIJI Scuba Travel Package


By Geri Murphy

Though known to many as just another one of those tiny countries on the other side of the globe, Fiji is actually an island paradise where fragrant flowers abound and azure waters grace some of the world's most beautiful palm-fringed beaches. Fiji also is a unique dive destination that features a wide array of topside and underwater adventures

World's Most Colorful Reefs:
Fiji's undersea fields of soft coral are legendary among traveling divers. Nowhere else will you find such vibrant colors and such a wide range of hues. Delicate hard coral formations are carpeted with pastel shades of lavender and lemon, punctuated by bright splashes of crimson red, juicy orange and royal purple. The reefs are a kaleidoscope of splendid colors and shapes.

Extraordinary Marine Life:
Fiji's Indo-Pacific species are nothing like the familiar fish of North America and the Caribbean. The exotic forms and brilliant colors of these precious tropicals amaze first-time visitors. Apricot-colored Clownfish and electric blue eels dance before your facemask in a carnival atmosphere."

Friday, 4 July 2008

Dive Company President Helps Buy Thousands of Wheelchairs for Fijian People

Not all of Susan Shaw's trip to Fiji are exclusively for diving. She's also taken up the cause of providing wheelchairs for those in need!

Many of you have met Susan Shaw before. She's often staffing the Divegear booth at trade shows and at DEMA. When you speak with Susan, she'll often tell you about a program that is near and dear to her heart - providing wheelchairs for needy people in Fiji.
Susan first realized this growing need on a trip to the islands a few years ago. Since that time, she has helped raised funds to purchase more than 3250 wheelchairs.
"I saw a need and made it a goal to work to meet that need," Susan says. "In the dive industry, we have often come across opportunities where we can make a difference. This program is something that I am fully invested in."

Each year Susan travels to Fiji to help deliver wheelchairs, purchased through her own donations and donations from others all over the country. Her goal? "I have promised the people of Fiji that I will make sure everyone who needs a wheelchair will get one."
If you would like to see more about this program, click on this link:
If you would like to read more about these chairs, please go to Free Wheelchair Mission The chairs come from the Free Wheelchair Mission, a 100% non profit organization in California. They ship chairs all over the world. If you would like to help change a life forever in Fiji, feel free to contact Susan directly via email or by phone: 949-553-1995. Blessings to all who have helped me in my personal crusade!

© - Material posted and distributed through DiveNewswire is protected by International Copyright law.
Networks LLC – 2005, 2006, 2007

Tuesday, 1 July 2008

WWF South Pacific | Villagers take lead in financing their I qoloqoli in Macuata, Fiji

- By Ashwini Prabha
Fishermen from Kia Island, Fiji, with their catch. Kia has one of the 9 Marine Protected Areas (tabu) areas. © WWF Fiji.

The people of the qoliqoli (fishing grounds) of the vanua Nabekavu, Dreketi, Macuata, Sasa and Mali have, in the past 2 years, implemented set actions for the use of their I qoliqoli.

They have successfully set aside 9 areas, totaling to 117 kms2 within the I qoliqoli as tabus(protected areas), for the purpose of restocking the I qoliqoli. Already, the people of the I qoliqoli are talking about larger fishes caught near shore as in the past and different types that had not been seen in the recent years have begun to come back.

“This week we went out fishing everyday and came back with a full catch compared to few years ago when we would go out one day and have a good catch and the next three to four days we would hardly catch anything. These changes have also attracted increasing illegal fishers into the I qoliqoli and into the 'tabu' (protected areas) areas.”

- Emosi Baya, one of the I qoliqoli committee members from Nakawaga, Mali Island.

“These changes have also increasingly attracted illegal fishers into the I qoliqoli and into the tabu areas,”

said Baya.

Currently WWF Fiji and partners are working with the Macuata communities by assisting in the development and implementation of resource management plan, educating and training of community members to undertake activities outlined in their management plans, training fish wardens and building community capacity (through household financial literacy training, community messaging, community biological and socio-economic surveyors etc).

With WWFs support to come to an end in three years, there is a commitment by WWF to assist the qoliqoli committee to secure funding with which the qoliqoli communities will continue to manage their I qoliqoli’s.

Long term self financing of Marine Protected Areas

A 12 month Fund Raising Plan (May 2007 to June 2008), with 4 activities, targeting FJD100,000, has been developed to generate funding for the management of the qoliqoli, spearheaded by the Qoliqoli Committee of the Vanua Nabekavu, Tikina Dreketi, Macuata, Sasa & Mali.

“A review of the 2004 management plan showed that the Qoliqoli committee lacked dedicated funds or a plan to seek funds for the implementation of this plan which includes the actions by fish wardens in stemming illegal fishing.”

- Sanivalati Navuku, Project officers, WWF Fiji Programme

The first fundraising event is the upcoming Great Sea Reefs (GSR) Sevens Rugby Tournament, in November (9th to 10th) at the Subrail Park, in Labasa. The tournament targets to raise $15,000.00.

Ten top national teams will be invited to participate, with part of their travel and accommodation costs supported by the Qoliqoli Committee through sponsorship.

A total of 56 teams are expected to participate, including boys teams of 17, 16, 15, 12, 9. The inclusion of the boys team is expected to pull in parents and families to travel to the games venue in Labasa.

Mr. Baya who is involved in the fundraiser said,

“the GSR sevens is not just to raise money but will help qoliqoli owners to come together to work towards the protection of their natural resources. Working to manage our qoliqoli has brought many of us together, from the inland villages and coastal villages for the first time. Some of us are visiting some qoliqoli villages for the first time as well.”
“When WWF started this project (MPA) in 2004, I was the only representative from the island of Mali. Today the number of representatives from Mali and other villagers has increased. These efforts are helping re-establish our traditional links.”

he said.

Other fundraising activities by the Qoliqoli committee includes- Honorary Qoliqoli Owners by Invitation, targeting $9,000.00, Connecting qoliqoli members living outside of Fiji (3), targeting $10,000.00 and Village based fund raising & dinner by invitation, targeting $42,000.00.

“Effort is being made to increase the communities’ involvement and participation in the management of their resources. The communities need to take ownership in protecting their natural resources starting with MPA projects.”

- Sanivalati Navuku, Project officer, WWF Fiji.

Fiji’s precious marine ecosystem is under attack from over fishing, unsustainable and destructive harvesting of live coral and exotic fish for aquariums, and increasing levels of pollution. Climate change is also playing its part in the degradation of the marine environment as warmer sea water.

In November 2005, seven chiefs of the province of Macuata launched the first of the country’s networks of Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) on the Great Sea Reef, the third largest barrier reef in the world. This came about as a result of the Great Sea Reef survey, a first in the area, conducted in 2004 with the support of WWF and partners, which highlighted its unique biodiversity.

WWF has witnessed the benefits of MPAs to biodiversity and marine resources and the people who rely on them around the world. Hence it is supporting the Government and the people of Fiji in the development and implementation of its commitment to have 30%of the country’s EEZ under MPAs by 2020. Together with FLMMA and other key organisations, WWF is facilitating policy dialogue, scientific research, community capacity building and financing.

Source: WWF Fiji