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Last wild place on film

Dawn Gibson
Tuesday, April 22, 2014

PEOPLE came together last week to pay tribute to one of the last remaining wild places on earth, the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, in the form of a 26-minute documentary boasting the immaculate diversity within the seascape.

The documentary, titled Roots to Happiness, was filmed, compiled and launched by the Waitt Foundation and Institute and the Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji (WCS Fiji) at the Damodar City cinemas on Thursday afternoon before guests and supporters of effective biodiversity conservation.

WCS Fiji country program director Dr Stacy Jupiter said too many people were of the belief that humans were no longer connected to nature, but that the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape was an example of communities of people who remained in touch with their natural surroundings.

The documentary also focused a lot on the Namena Marine Reserve, which has, over the last two decades, become a sanctuary for a diverse range of fish species — something which Dr Jupiter believes can be mimicked elsewhere if appropriate conservation approaches are taken. "To be able to obtain sustainable fisheries and biodiversity benefits from marine reserves, the focus of marine reserves around the world should be on maintaining closures as opposed to harvesting.

"The Namena Marine Reserve has amassed great quantities of fish and various other marine species because it has been left relatively untouched for over two decades and because it is very large.

"Taking pressure off harvesting marine species in certain areas allows for species recovery, particularly when the reserves are placed over habitat that is important for critical life history phases of those species, such as nursery, nesting or spawning grounds."

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