Opinion

EDITORIAL: Replanting Mangroves Vital To Protecting Coastline And Fisheries Resources

For many years mangrove forests have suffered from human activities and the ravages of extreme weather patterns. Now the fightback to protect and preserve them has intensified. One method is
30 Nov 2017 10:03
EDITORIAL: Replanting Mangroves Vital To Protecting Coastline And Fisheries Resources

For many years mangrove forests have suffered from human activities and the ravages of extreme weather patterns.

Now the fightback to protect and preserve them has intensified.

One method is mangrove replanting to mitigate the effects of climate change. It stabilises the coastline soil and houses a variety of sea life.

Mangrove restoration continued yesterday as men and women from the Republic of Fiji Military Forces (RFMF) and the Fiji Navy planted 5000 new trees.

These trees will help prevent erosion, which can hurt nearby coral reefs, and provide protection from major storm surges.

It is sad that many of the mangrove forests in coastal areas have been used for firewood without any effort of replanting.

We must thank the Organisation for Industrial Spiritual and Cultural Advancement International (OISCA) for working with local communities to plant mangroves.

OISCA says that after two decades since the start of the project, the fishermen have noticed the increase of the size and number of fish catches as well as the shortened distance of travel just to catch fish.

OISCA has expanded to having an environment component which covered mangrove planting and the Coral Restoration Project.

A report says that mangrove forests are home to a large variety of fish, crab, shrimp, and mollusk species.

These fisheries form an essential source of food for thousands of coastal communities around the world. The forests also serve as nurseries for many fish species, including coral reef fish.

On coastal protection the report said the dense root systems of mangrove forests trap sediments flowing down rivers and off the land.

This helps to stabilise the coastline and prevents erosion from waves and storms. In areas where mangroves have been cleared, coastal damage from hurricanes and typhoons is much more severe. By filtering out sediments, the forests also protect coral reefs and seagrass meadows from being smothered in sediment.

Mangroves in the Pacific are an important source of firewood and building material for housing, as well as other products such as dyes that are used in masi-making.

However another report said – “Despite such values, mangroves throughout the Pacific are being degraded or destroyed due to their use as rubbish dumps, overharvesting, reclamation to make way for tourist resorts, urban development, housing, and even due to the proliferation of squatter or informal settlements in the ‘no-man’s’ mangrove areas.

“The primary threats to all mangrove species are habitat destruction and removal of mangrove areas for conversion to aquaculture, agriculture, urban and coastal development, and overexploitation. Of these, clear-felling, aquaculture and over-exploitation of fisheries in mangroves are expected to be the greatest threats to mangrove species over the next 10–15 years.”

It is time that we preserve our mangrove forests.

We all know of the importance of the mangrove forests.

It is sad that mangrove forests have been destroyed to make way for development.

We have to learn how to protect mangroves and use them in sustainable ways.

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