THE Australian Government gave equipment to fish wardens in the Mali district in order to boost the district's fight against poaching.
The equipment included binoculars, compasses, reflectors, mobile devices and life jackets, funded by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade through its Fiji Community Development Program.
The new equipment is earmarked to assist the community comply with Marine Protected Area management rules and best practices.
WWF South Pacific Representative Kesaia Tabunakaiwai said the equipment were an obligation highlighted under a memorandum of understanding between WWF South Pacific and Mali Development Committee for the implementation of the
"Building Effective Community Driven Governance Systems in Mali District to Enhance Community Access to Food, Income Generating Opportunities and Livelihoods Project."
Ms Tabunakawai saluted the efforts of fish wardens over the past years to protect their qoliqoli despite the lack of resources.
"I commend the hard work the fish wardens are doing in terms of policing their waters and I hope the equipment will strengthen their work and ensure the better policing and protection of their MPA," she said.
Mali Develoment Committee chairman Savenaca Koliniwai applauded WWF-South Pacific's commitment to ensuring Mali's natural resources are sustainably managed.
Mr Koliniwai said the life source of the Mali people was in the sea and its resources and therefore the people of Mali and Labasa depended on the qoliqoli of Mali.
WWF's Sustainable Landuse and Livelihoods officer Unaisi Tagicakibau who also manages the Mali project said each of the four villages (Vesi, Ligau, Nakawaqa and Matailabasa) would own a set of equipment.
"They had been using their own resources to patrol their MPAs and over the years have caught poachers in the act and hopefully the equipment will strengthen that work further," she said.