Keep what we have

Aminiasi Tuimaba joins fellow villagers at the village integrated management planning workshop at Vio Village in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

Aminiasi Tuimaba joins fellow villagers at the village integrated management planning workshop at Vio Village in Lautoka. Picture: REINAL CHAND

VILLAGERS living on Vio Island off the coast of Lautoka have been reminded of the importance of sustainability and the conservation of marine resources.

The villagers, who depend on fishing as their main source of income, participated in a three-day village integrated management planning workshop organised by marine conservation group, Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA).

Former village headman Semi Mana said one of the biggest issues was the impact of pollution on their marine ecosystem.

“We depend a lot on the sea with our young men going out to dive for fish almost every night,” he said.

“In our time, we would just dive for fish in reefs close to the island but now most of them have to go as far as Naviti, Yasawa-i-Rara and areas near Ra.

“We don’t find any fish near our home anymore.”

He said the removal of mangroves also contributed to coastal erosion and had placed the island at risk.

“We used to use mangroves for firewood but we’ve put a stop to that because sand and soil is being washed away.”

He said the integration workshop has been shed a light on the need to protect their fishing grounds and ensure its sustainability.

FLMMA technical adviser Alifereti Tawake said there was a lot of work needed to rehabilitate the marine resources surrounding Vio Island.

“We helped them first in identifying the issues that they have and helped them come up with ways to address these issues,” he said.

“They also developed a vision for what they want to achieve in 10 years and also have an action plan to help them achieve that vision.”

* Editorial comment Page 6

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