GVI Fiji’s Marine Research & Conservation Team have started collecting baseline marine resource inventories of targeted benthic life forms, invertebrate and fish species in Naisisili village Tabu area (no fishing zone). The village of Naisisili is the largest community in the Nacula District and therefore ensuring food security for future generations to come is imperative for the developing population. It is important to collect baseline data and monitor Tabu areas to indicate reef health and monitor ongoing changes over time. Below is a picture of Naisisili’s mapped tabu area where GVI have been collecting marine resource inventories outlined in red.
When an area of reef is protected it allows the coral and all of its inhabitants to rejuvenate. Tabu areas can generate more sustainable fisheries by creating a spill over effect. Fish, invertebrates and corals can grow to their full size and reach their optimum potential to spawn, all of which spill over to reef systems that are not in protected zones, increasing abundance and biodiversity of species which in turn creates a healthier ecosystem. Fishing the boundaries of an established Tabu area can lead to a more abundant, sizeable catch.
GVI’s Marine Team have also been teaching shark conservation lesson at Ratu Meli Memorial School (RMMS), highlighting the importance of sharks as an apex predator to the marine ecosystem. Sharks are threatened worldwide due to unsustainable levels of fishing.
Shark Stanley was created by Shark Defenders to promote shark and manta ray conservation. Students at RMMS showed their support for shark conservation by colouring in pictures of Stanley which have been collected to show support for sharks and manta ray conservation at the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES) meeting in March.
Last week GVI Marine volunteers also went to a shark dive site called Cathedral Reef which has recently been declared as a Tabu area after GVI petitioned within the community and successfully obtained protection for the reef. Volunteers were lucky enough to see an array of species including bull, lemon, grey reef, white tip reef and black tip reef sharks.
Bull shark at Cathedral Reef