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Fiji Time: 6:31 PM on Thursday 24 April

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Chiefs sign marine protection deal

Luke Rawalai
Saturday, March 23, 2013

TUI Wailevu Ratu Kinijoji Maivalili and the 27 chiefs under his leadership have today signed a memorandum of understanding known as the Wailevu Ecosystem-Based Management Plan.

The plan is aimed at creating marine protected areas to improve the balance of marine life and the marine ecosystem through the wise management of natural resources on land and in the sea.

Ratu Kinijoji said 27 villages in his district had shown their consent and gratitude to him and the Wildlife Conservation Society for the vision in setting up such a plan.

"There comes a time when we all have to realise that we have to also consider the future and this program is about providing more for now and more for the future too," he said.

"I am grateful to my people for taking this stand and realising the importance in establishing a sustainable ecosystem.

"We have also set up ecosystem management committees that will, from time to time, liaise with their chiefs during their village meetings to highlight any environmental issue that needs to be addressed."

Ratu Kinijoji also lauded the support from the Wildlife Conservation Society for actively working with them and opening their eyes on the reality that needed to be addressed to keep the balance of nature.

WCS vanua liaison officer Sirilo Dulunaqio said they provided the knowledge and technical support of keeping the management plan intact to the local people but added that at the end of the day, it was up to the resource owners to either stay true to the plan or otherwise.