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Protecting the Great Sea Reef

Lice Movono
Thursday, January 18, 2018

CABINET has decided to protect part of the Great Sea Reef which sits along the coast of four provinces from Macuata to Ba.

Announcing the decision to make part of the GSR listed as a Ramsar site, Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama said the decision was an important step to protect the resource for future generations.

"Yesterday my Cabinet took an important step in protecting this great sea reef to approve the nomination of a significant part of the reef as a Ramsar site under the convention on wetlands," Mr Bainimarama said.

Congratulating the Tui Macuata, Ratu Wiliame Katonivere and the WWF Pacific, Mr Bainimarama said their leadership made the Ramsar decision possible.

The Ramsar Convention on Wetlands enables certification of natural water resource areas which abide by certain requirements, which include sustainable fishing practice.

Cabinet's decision means a particular portion of the GSR which happens to be part of the Tui Macuata's qoliqoli (fish basket) will now be submitted to the Ramsar secretariat which will eventually end in certification.

According to Ratu Wiliame, work to make the GSR Ramsar site ready for Cabinet's approval for the nomination process had begun in 2010 by his predecessor Ratu Aisea Katonivere.

Ratu Wiliame said Ramasar certification, when it happen, would bring more income for the people of Macuata.

"It's something we have worked hard for since 2010. It took us quite a while but I can say that today we have done something unique in terms of conservation," Ratu Wiliame said.

"For me the challenge was getting the community's approval and to change their mind-set about what the Ramsar certification will bring to them."

Part of the requirement of Ramsar certification is an adherence to sustainable fishing methods.

Alfred Ralifo, WWF Pacific's policy officer, explained the Ramsar listing will help qoliqoli owners tap into niche markets in fishery, agriculture and even tourism.

The nomination once approved by the Ramsar Secretariat comes with a tag which acts as endorsements which can be used on fishery products sourced from the site.








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