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Conservationists Meet To Share Ideas

Conservationists Meet To Share Ideas
July 15
10:00 2017

A University of Fiji project on the mapping and monitoring of coastal ecosystems found at Votua, Ba, reduced growth of coral reefs, higher mortality due to bleaching and increased damage by severe weather.

Similar studies carried out at Komave, and the Coral Coast found the reefs were healthier and this was attributed to conservation practices.

Commissioner Western Division Manasa Tagicakibau made the comments during the opening of the University of Fiji USAID PACAM project workshop, titled ‘Developing Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific’ for stakeholders in Lautoka on Thursday.

The workshop intends to provide a platform for institutions, NGOs, Government agencies and enterprises from within the country with an opportunity to display and present their work in the field of climate change adaptation.”

‘This brings together people from all works of life to exchange information, share ideas, thoughts and experiences gained from the implementation of one or many of the climate change adaptation projects,” Mr Tagicakibau said.

“Tropical island environments in the Pacific, like Fiji, are suffering significant degradation in water quality, biodiversity, and various other critical parameters,” he said.

Mr Tagicakibau said there was a need to develop accurate, high – resolution base maps of coastal and shallow – water aquatic resources, including coral and sea grass ecosystems that have significant economic value in terms of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism, among others.

He said these maps were needed as a baseline against which to measure future changes, and to develop place- based resource management plans.

He said with the grant from USAID Pacific- American Climate Fund for the project, UniFiji  would increase the capacity of the Fijian government and the communities of Votua and Komave to develop appropriate climate change adaptation strategies related to coastal and marine resource management.

“The resulting maps illustrate relationships between local resources and human activities, showing ways in which resources may be affected by climate stressors and serve as a reference by which change may be measured.

“This would help in the development of strategies for resource use, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, disaster risk management, food security, and development in Votua and Komave.

“Broadening the coverage of available interventions would greatly improve adaptation measures now.

“These local and immediate benefits would offset a large part of the costs of climate change mitigation and provide a strong political and personal motivation for action.”

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