POACHERS and illegal fishing pose a threat to marine protected areas (MPA) on Naviti Island in the Yasawa Group.
District representative of Naviti Island, Isikeli Mulase said this was an area of concern especially when efforts by the Tikina Naviti Conservation Initiative (TNCI) were in place to preserve the marine ecological system in collaboration with tourism operators on the island.
"We don't have fish wardens to monitor these activities but this is an area of concern especially when we have our eight MPAs on Naviti," he said.
"There are poachers and fishermen from the mainland who come around these areas and offload their catch at the Lautoka wharf.
"They sometimes take beche-de-mer. I'm one of those who sign off on licences to fish in this area and the ones who come here don't have licences.
"Last week, I spoke to a police corporal in charge of Naviti, Waya and Viwa about it so once these taboo areas are designated, anybody who crosses here or try to fish here will be reported." Mr Mulase said Malolo had a good system of monitoring poachers and illegal fishing because of appointed fish wardens.
Meanwhile, TNCI in partnership with local dive operators and resorts on Naviti Island in the Yasawa Group, was working alongside LajeRotuma Initiative (LRI) — a community-based environmental education and awareness development program in Rotuma — on the training of community divers in coral reef survey skills.
Stakeholders met on Monday at Botaira Beach Resort for a briefing of the activities funded by the Global Environment Facility's small grants program and TNCI.