NATION

Customary Law Focus Of Serua Field Trip

A delegation comprising members of the Fiji Environment Law Association (FELA) visited Serua Island to witness first-hand what happens in a Marine Protected Area (MPA). The visit marked the end
28 Jan 2018 11:00
Customary Law Focus Of Serua Field Trip
Fiji Environment Law Association delegates tour the Marine Protected Area. Photo: Fonua Talei

A delegation comprising members of the Fiji Environment Law Association (FELA) visited Serua Island to witness first-hand what happens in a Marine Protected Area (MPA).

The visit marked the end of a two-day workshop in Suva to highlight issues pertaining to marine related activities.

Organisations which were part of the visit included:

  •  representatives from the Fijian Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) Network, which helped facilitate the workshop
  •  Ministry of Lands and Mineral Resources
  •  Wildlife Conservation Society
  •  Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji
  •  Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and
  • iTaukei Land Trust Board.

FLMMA co-ordinator Margaret Vakalalabure said the visit was in conjunction with the importance of customary law, a topic discussed with much interest during the workshop.

“One of the topics that we discussed was the management of marine resources with the use of customary laws, more specifically the management of MPAs,” Mrs Vakalalabure said.

“These marine reserves are completely managed by the villagers. So whenever they want to lift the fishing ban they can and, when they want to enforce it they do.”

She said there were two other government gazetted tourism-based reserves in Fiji managed by hotel operators namely the Wakaya Marine Reserve and the Wainiyabia Shark Reserve, in Serua.

FELA Coordinator Kiji Vukikomoala said members hoped to have an interaction session with villagers about the challenges and successes experienced by the villagers and the opportunities available to them.

She said the association has a number of visits planned for the year, including a visit to two Tailevu villages where they have a number of association-funded initiatives.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: fonua.talei@fijisun.com.fj

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