A NEW coral farming initiative for Marou Village in the Yasawa Group began yesterday with Tui Marou Ratu Kinijoji Moala planting the first coral head during a demonstration by staff of Walt Smith International.
About 4000 coral heads are expected to be planted in the coming weeks.
Ratu Kinijoji said the project would support the community.
"For are while we have struggled here in the village because diving and fishing are becoming harder, fish and other marine food are also becoming scarce," he said.
Walt Smith's aquaculture and livestock manager Cameron Bee said the challenge of establishing coral farms in Fiji was getting people to understand the work they were involved in.
"We are an aquaculture company, yes, we take out coral for export but we plant more than we send as a requirement under the law," Mr Bee said.
The team returns to the island next Tuesday with the first slabs of coral heads for the first mass planting exercise with villagers.
"When the first batch of corals start maturing in four to five months, the villagers stand to gain more than $1000 every month.