Villages feel coral bleaching impacts

Corals for Conservation Chief Programmer Dr Austin Bowden-Kerby (left) with Mamanuca Environment Society Project Manager Marica Vakacola shows some of the bleached corals on display during the coral sustainability workshop at the Plantation Island resort on Malolo Island. Picture: REINAL CHAND

AT least four villages in the Mamanuca have started to experience the effects of coral bleaching, says Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) project manager Marica Vakacola.

Ms Vakacola was part of a coral sustainability workshop organised at Plantation Island Resort last week.

“With climate change affecting coral ecosystems, we’ve seen coastal erosion already impacting communities that we work with,” she said.

“With the four communities we are engaged with, Solevu, Yaro, Tavua and Yanuya, they are already facing saltwater intrusion in their drinking water.”

She said they were working on the restoration of dry forests in the Mamanuca, however, the coral population also needed to be looked after.

“MES is committed, in particular, to protecting the environment and promoting sustainable tourism and community livelihood.

“The work we do follows the ridge to reef concept so this workshop is very important to the society.

“We are able to collaborate and identify the corals that survived the last bleaching event.

“This is a very innovative idea in terms of implementing coral planting events for the future.

“By the end of this workshop, we will also be able to determine which coral species can tolerate higher temperatures.”

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