Marine life protection vital

FOLLOWING a survey on the impact of Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston in the northern Lau Group, recommendations have been made to restore reefs and conserve marine life.

The survey jointly carried out by the Wildlife Conservation Society and the Vatuvara Foundation in April last year, recorded 293 fish species over eight days and healthy levels of fish biomass.

However, a report on the survey titled Marine Biological Survey of Coral Reefs noted that invertebrate populations in the area were low, especially giant clams, sea cucumbers, crustaceans and urchins.

“Biological data collected, establishes a baseline understanding of the marine environment of the remote islands surveyed,” the report stated.

“This information will be used as reference for the long-term monitoring of these marine environments to detect potential changes.

“Findings from this study will be used to help revive and guide ocean conservation in northern Lau through a network of community locally-managed marine areas (LMMAs).”

The study recommended that actions should be taken to minimise human stresses to coral reefs, especially areas that were impacted by Severe TC Winston including the protection of coral reefs that were undamaged, which may play a critical role in the recovery of adjacent impacted reefs.

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