Protecting mangroves

Solomoni Naisau of Nailaga Ba after graduating at the Traditional Leadership Curriculum training in Nadave. Picture: ATU RASEA

SOLOMONI Naisau grew up not really knowing or fully understanding the importance of our natural ecosystem.

He was taught that the natural ecosystem was given to mankind to use to satisfy their basic needs, but he was not fully aware of the importance of the protections of this same natural ecosystem.

“As a young boy, I remember when we are told to go and collect firewood, we would just go down and look for mangrove. So we will cut mangrove for our firewood and head back to the village.

“We know the importance of mangrove is it provides us with firewood, medicine and also where we can fish,” Mr Naisau.

It was not until Mr Naisau attended the Traditional Leadership Curriculum workshop (vuli ni suvaki ni vanua) that he was enlightened on the important role mangroves play on the marine ecosystem.

Research has already shown that mangroves are one of the best carbon sequesters, thus plays a vital role in storing carbon and control of global temperatures.

“The mangrove forest is also the breeding ground for many reef fish before they migrate to the reef, thus improper removal of mangrove may not only contribute to increase in global temperatures and sea-level rise, but can also have an impact on the fish stock, and food to the very people who live by the sea and rely on.

“I am thankful to be part of this workshop and training and now I realise that it is our duty to protect our environment.

“There is a deep relationship between us the resource owners and our resources so if we do not take care of it, our resources will not be able to sustain and take care of us,” Mr Naisau.

Mr Naisau originally from Nailaga in Ba, was one of 37 participants who graduated from this 14 works training which looks at the preparation of traditional leaders is funded by the iTaukei Trust Fund Board and facilitated by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs.

The participants are all representatives of villages from the province of Ba.

“I will take everything I have learnt from here and share it with the people in my village. It is also important that we look at the protection of our natural resources. We must be able to look after our natural resources just how we look after our family.

“This is something that our vanua will discuss as it is our duty to protect the environment.”

Meanwhile, the second Traditional Leadership Curriculum training will be held early next year and will have participants from the Nadroga/Navosa Province.

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