THE Best Practices Guidelines and Policy, a project recently launched by the Mamanuca Environment Society (MES), is not only a first for Fiji but also for the South Pacific.
The turtle conservation plan not only addresses the major issues the population of turtles face in the country but also the best ways to conserve the marine species by any community in Fiji and the South Pacific.
MES project manager Betani Salusalu said this was the first document created for the Fiji Islands and for the Pacific to adopt when it came to turtle conservation.
"This isn't only for Fiji, it is also for the Pacific," Mr Salusalu said.
"This is something they take on and read and maybe even adopt," he said.
Carrying out most of its policies and management plans in the Mamanuca group of islands, MES has highlighted important aspects of turtle conservation.
Some of these policies include:
* general beach conditions during turtle breeding season;
* the provisions and requirements for all turtle nesting areas; and
* recommendations for planning and management of marine turtle tourism.
Mr Salusalu said they were fortunate to have the support of all Mamanuca-based resorts, government and organisations like ANZ and the United Nations Development Programme.
"The Mamanucas is one the most visited areas in Fiji and having resorts adopt this best practices guideline in turtle conservation is a good thing because we have to consider the fact that 90 per cent of the Mamanucas are turtle nesting areas.
"This is one of the documents that came out of our four-year study and it also reflects government's initiative with other stakeholders," he said.
Castaway Island managing director Geoff Shaw said the launch of the new policy was a fantastic achievement by the MES.
"The compilation of information on how to preserve the beautiful turtles of the Mamanuca Group is a great foundation and basis for further conservation efforts not only by villages and community members but also environment organisations including government," said Mr Shaw.