NEWS

Six New Fish Species Identified In Southern Lau Islands

The report said it included 39 newly identified species. This revelation was made yesterday by the general secretary of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Solo Mara, while launching the Lau Seascape Strategic at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs ground at Nasova, Suva.
16 Nov 2019 13:53
Six New Fish Species Identified In Southern Lau Islands
Diving in Lau waters

A comprehensive biodiversity assessment of the Southern Lau Islands conducted by Conservation International (CI) and partners recorded six new fish species.

The report said it included 39 newly identified species. This revelation was made yesterday by the general secretary of the Pacific Islands Development Forum (PIDF), Solo Mara, while launching the Lau Seascape Strategic at the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs ground at Nasova, Suva.

Mr Mara said the Lau archipelago was rich with diverse coral reefs; in fact, the level of diversity was as remarkable as that found in the Coral Triangle, the world’s centre of biodiversity.

Recent expeditions, he said had also uncovered evidence of endangered humpback whale nursery grounds.

“Global analysis of marine biodiversity consistently place the Lau archipelago among the highest priority areas for conservation, as it is a hotspot for richness and species endemism,” he said.

“The partners could not have chosen a more stunning part of the world in which to work. Those who had been to the Lau group knew that it was a slice of paradise. But, like any other place on earth, it is not immune to the devastating impacts of the climate crisis we now face.

“Whether it is the threat of declining fisheries, the decline in the number of predatory fish, increasing invasive species, pollution, warming waters, bleaching of coral, land erosion, water scarcity, or health issues, these need to be addressed in a holistic manner. That is what we call the Green and Blue Economy at PIDF.”

Seeing the Lau Group as a complete seascape he said this was an important aspect of the strategy.

He also supported the approach of blending traditional knowledge with contemporary science to achieve the best results for both the environment and island communities.

“All stakeholders should appreciate that this strategy was not a rigid document, but was one that could adjust to the changing needs of the communities and the environment over time,” Mr Mara said.

He gave his assurance that the PIDF would support their efforts wherever and however they could.

Matuku district chiefly representative Aisake Cama said they supported the Lau Seascape Strategic Plan.

“We will not only protect our marine resources but our land resources as well,” he said.

“We will now return and relay the message to those back on the island.”

The Lau Provincial Council was also briefed about the plan and pledged its support and blessings.

Edited by Naisa Koroi

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