NATION

Koya Defends Mangrove Rehab

This Fijian Government is the first government to promote the rehabilitation of mangroves around the country’s foreshores. Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya, while responding to the Opposition
09 Mar 2018 09:28
Koya Defends Mangrove Rehab
Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya. Photo: Parliament of Fiji

This Fijian Government is the first government to promote the rehabilitation of mangroves around the country’s foreshores.

Minister for Lands and Mineral Resources Faiyaz Koya, while responding to the Opposition Leader Ro Teimumu’s question, said he wished that opposition MPs would ask questions that made far-reaching statements in Parliament.

Mr Koya said for the foreshore development, the ministry was the lead agency in coordinating a mangrove management community which collates and discusses issues relating to the sustainable management of mangrove forests.

Mr Koya said even though his ministry was responsible for the issuance of foreshore leases, collectively there are three ministry’s involved on the issue of mangrove.

The ministries included the Ministry of Lands for leasing, Ministry for Forest for licensing mangrove harvesting for commercial use and the Ministry of Environment which provided the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA).

He said this committee were working on Fiji’s mangrove management plans and the government regarded this as an extremely important issue.

“For this reason, consultations have been conducted with relevant stakeholders and government has ensured that this committee is driven to have the mangrove management plan completed and endorsed by cabinet and will definitely see that it is enforced,’’ Mr Koya said.

“It is this government that has improved the process with respect for foreshores leases to ensure the sustainable use of our nature.

“The past government neglected this particular sector and supported destruction of mangroves and foreshore without any proper rehabilitation or remediation in place.”

He said today the issuance of leases over the foreshores of Fiji takes place in an environment where there is a strengthened inter-governmental co-ordination on the protection of mangroves.

“Government promotes the reforestation of mangrove which is much higher than the harvester,” Mr Koya said.

Mr Koya reiterated that for the opposition to say that government promoted the removal and destruction of large areas of mangrove was actually totally inaccurate, irresponsible and mischievous.

“Government takes much pride in achieving a balance in economic development and conservation especially in the Rewa delta, this is the first government that has gone ahead and included rehabilitation measures that should be taken by any developer to the extent that it is an obligation for the lease to replant the mangroves at the same side or other sides.”

He added that previous governments neither specified nor enforced this that the future generation would benefit from the mangroves.

“Past governments neglected and sadder to know they did not keep records,” Mr Koya said.

He said the process now was more thorough and the ministry was continually monitoring the system to ensure the natural resources were not exploited, ensuring that foreshore applicants submit EIA, Fishery Impact Assessment and conduct assessment with resource owners to obtain their consent to waive traditional fishing rights.

“This consent to waiver can only be endorsed after thorough verification by the iTaukei Lands and Fisheries Commission and such consent is witnessed by the provincial offices. This is to ensure that our environment is protected,” Mr Koya said.

Edited by George Kulamaiwasa

Feedback: losirene.lacanivalu@fijisun.com.fj

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