THE Mamanuca sea turtle community-based management plan has been endorsed as a policy that should be adopted by communities living by the sea.
Written in the iTaukei language, the 18-page manual is a set of guidelines put together by the traditional leaders of the 16 villages from the vanua o Lawa and the vanua o Vuda.
The management plan outlines the set of rules that each village can implement in terms of turtle harvesting for traditional gatherings, beach conditions for turtle nesting and village integrated groups that could be formed to overlook each community's conservation efforts.
Constructed over a period of four years, the management plan was funded by the United Nations Development Programme GEF small grant, the Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Environment, ANZ and other stakeholders.
During its launch, the Tui Lawa Ratu Sevanaia Lalabalavu said they were happy to be involved in the conservation of turtles in the Mamanuca's.
Ratu Sevanaia said the vanua o Lawa would continue to take the lead in the conservation of turtles in the Mamanucas.
Joining Ratu Sevanaia in their pledge to continue the worthy cause, vanua o Vuda representative and Vuda Resource Committee member Adi Makelesi Tavaiqia praised the Mamanuca Environment Society for continuing to take their sea turtle awareness campaigns to local communities and schools.
MES project manager Betani Salusalu said because of the involvement of communities in their projects, they had noticed a dramatic increase in turtle population within the group.
"They are able to manage their projects under a community level," Mr Salusalu said.
"On the project status, the biological community management plan can be adopted by any community in Fiji and around the Pacific," he said.
"What makes it even easier is the fact that it is in English and also in Fijian making it very easy for community leaders," he added.