MORE assistance and discussions around locally managed marine areas (LMMAs) is crucial in protecting biodiversity and human livelihoods.
With this in mind, members of the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas (FLMMA) network together with the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) met yesterday to discuss past LMMA experiences in the hope of improving regional understanding of the issue.
JICA coastal resource management advisor marine studies USP Kazuo Udagawa said the purpose of the workshop was to encourage communication between regional countries that suffer from similar marine-related issues.
"We have projects in Tonga and Vanuatu sponsored by JICA about technical assistance, so to improve their activities, I organised this workshop to discuss with Fijians about experiences they've had," Mr Udagawa explained yesterday.
"Tonga doesn't have a traditional marine tenure system, which means anybody can go fishing anywhere not like in Fiji. There is no qoliqoli so it's very difficult to manage resources there.
"So we try and discuss these experiences."
He said it was important that regional countries get together not only to discuss problems, but also to explore potential solutions.
"They are very active in asking questions so it's very nice because they didn't know Tonga doesn't have any qoliqoli, so that was a very interesting discussion."