THE Constitution protects the right of every Fijian to a clean and healthy environment, says President Ratu Epeli Nailatikau.
Ratu Epeli said it included the right to have the natural world protected for the benefit of present and future generations.
He made the comments at a special reception on Sustainable Fisheries Management in a Green Blue Economy, on board the WAITT Institute yacht at the Kings Wharf on Friday night.
"In 2005, the Fijian government made a declaration at the meeting of Small Island Developing States in Mauritius to effectively protect 30 per cent of its inshore and offshore marine habitats by 2020," he said.
"This bold move set the tone for conservation efforts in the Pacific.
"For Fiji, this commitment is clearly stated in the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) that is being implemented through different government, non-government and community partnerships.
"Indeed, this spirit of partnership is best reflected in the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMA) initiative.
"This initiative has placed Fiji in a position where it can meet its goal for inshore habitats within the legally demarcated traditional fisheries management areas.
"I highly commend the efforts of all those involved in this initiative."
Ratu Epeli said as Fiji looked to grow the economic returns from its offshore fishing sector, as well as develop offshore mining interests, there was an urgent need for pro-active management that would protect sensitive areas of biodiversity while respecting Fiji's objectives for economic development.
"Indeed, I am pleased to note that the new offshore fisheries management decree provides the scope to conserve, manage and develop Fijian fisheries to ensure long term sustainable use for the benefit of our people.
"Once again, we are leading the way in the Pacific.
"I believe that we are trail-blazing a responsible course in Fiji. However, we can always work to improve our efforts.
"What this means is we should not be resting on our laurels, but at all times be seeking for new and innovative solutions."