Kawakawa population declines

Fiji sevens player Kalione Nasoko has joined the pledge to save grouper fish. Picture SUPPLIED

STUDIES have shown that over the past 30 years, the population of kawakawa fish has declined by 70 per cent in the qoliqoli of Vanua Levu. According to cChange Pacific, the results of this study done by Dr Yvonne Sadovy of the University of Hong Kong and the Ministry of Fisheries, has warranted the need for the four months seasonal ban of the grouper fish, kawakawa and donu.

cChange Pacific founder and executive director Scott Radway said if the seasonal ban did not happen, then there was a chance of losing the grouper fish species.

“The reality is if we don’t give these fish this break, during their peak breeding season, we stand at risk of losing them altogether,” he said.

“But with these management measures, we can start reviving their stocks. Right now, the Ministry of Fisheries is gearing up to work with fishermen to ensure they can make more money as we do see more and bigger kawakawa and donu. “A fisherman makes very little on the market value of the fish. So Fisheries is working to improve the fish stocks and help fishermen earn a decent living as those fish rebound.”

He said the 4FJ campaign (against the fishing of grouper fish) has been actively conducted because of the rapid decline of kawakawa and donu since 2014.

“So, all things considered, we need to give them a break each year, for four months during their peak breeding months, a little longer than a traditional tabu, and we can ensure that fishermen have a chance of making a decent living, and future generations can continue to benefit from this fish,” Mr Radway said.

“We need to save them now and we can eat more later. “We are going with all our partners in the next four months to continue to make sure we get that message out and also start working with fishermen to make a better living.”