NATION

Fishermen look to farming as means of survival

Fishermen of Serua Island have resorted to farming as an alternative to fishing because of depleting fish stocks in their waters. Fisherman Emori Ravitisai said the amount of fish they
28 Jan 2018 11:00
Fishermen look to farming as means of survival
From left: Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) Network representative Isimeli Loganimoce and Mineral Resource Department representative Iliesa Bacita at Serua Island on January 26, 2018. Photo: Fonua Talei

Fishermen of Serua Island have resorted to farming as an alternative to fishing because of depleting fish stocks in their waters.

Fisherman Emori Ravitisai said the amount of fish they used to catch 10 years ago was not the same anymore these days.

The 45-year-old Serua native, who has been fishing for more than 25 years said he used to earn $300 a day selling his catch at the Sigatoka Market.

However, now he is only able to earn about $50 to $60 a day with the little he catches.

Mr Ravitisai is one of the many fishermen on the island, who supports the idea of a farming association as a substitute income earner.

“In previous times we only had a handful of fishermen on the island. However, now everyone relies on the sea and the more fishermen we have the less fish there are to go around,” Mr Ravitisai said.

“The only alternate income earner we can think of is farming since we have abundance of unused land. I support the idea to set up our farming association so we can sell what we harvest to help us support our families.”

Fijian Locally Managed Marine Area (FLMMA) Central Division network engagement officer Atunaisa Qorovanua said there was no formal training done on the island to educate villagers on the need to monitor their marine reserve.

Mr Qorovanua said since the setting up of the Marine Protected Area in Serua, they had found 10 different species of fish within the reserve.

The Serua marine reserve also preserves giant clams which were brought from the Makogai Research Station after the destruction of Tropical Cyclone Winston in February, 2016.

The village has also set up an ecotourism venture called the Serua Village Tour where tourists are taken to see the MPA and the giant clams.

The tour business has been operating for over five years and on any one tour the village can earn about $50 which is kept for village use.

Edited by Percy Kean

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