US navy crew plant mangrove seedlings

Navy personnel of the USS Shoul planting mangroves with volunteers at the Queen Elizabeth Drive foreshore in Suva on Tuesday. Picture: VISHAAL KUMAR

ABOUT 10,000 mangrove seedlings were planted at the Nasese foreshore along the Queen Elizabeth Drive in Suva by 20 crew members from the visiting USS Shoup (DDG 86) on Tuesday.

Regional environmental specialist at the US Embassy Maria Ratutokarua said initially they had received a request from the crew that they were interested in some community and environmental programs.

“We thought of organising a mangrove planting program for them since their interest is in protecting the marine environment,” Ms Ratutokarua said.

“This planting program fits the purpose of conserving the marine species. The importance of having these mangroves is that it plays an important role in helping the marine diversity.”

She added the crew who took part in the planting exercise volunteered to carry out the activity.

“The US Embassy has strong interest in supporting Fiji and promoting marine conservation. Apart from the mangrove, the US Embassy’s regional environmental office supports promoting marine protected areas, coral conservation and restoration, activities that promote sustainable agriculture and sustainable fisheries,” she said.

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