Protection of ocean

Minister for Fisheries Semi Koroilavesau. Picture: FT FILE

Fisheries Minister Semi Koroilavesau said Government was working with stakeholders to ensure it achieved the 30 per cent marine protected area (MPA) target set in 2005.

He made the comment after being briefed by International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) Oceania region director Mason Smith yesterday.

“Basically the discussions this morning (yesterday) is the layout for what has been carried out in the last 15 years, to try and progress that so that we can achieve Fiji’s commitment to provide that 30 per cent marine protected area this year,” said Mr Koroilavesau.

“There has been extensive work that they have carried out with our officials at the Ministry of Fisheries and this is to make sure that our EEZ (exclusive economic zone) is sustainable.

“While we understand the economic reality and the pressure for economic activities within our waters, basically 30 per cent is to make sure that all the species and whatever lives under the ocean is sustainable going into the future.”

He said they were working with IUCN and other partners, both internationally and locally, to ensure their commitment to the 30 per cent MPA was achieved.

Mr Koroilavesau said he was “quite amazed” at the amount of data and information IUCN provided the ministry yesterday.

He said it was now up to the ministry to work with other government agencies and work on a Cabinet paper so that by the end of this year, Fiji would have met the 30 per cent target, even if public consultations and all other necessary work could be carried out after 2020.

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