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Planting Mangroves To Protect Fishing Grounds

Planting Mangroves To Protect Fishing Grounds
Tavualevu villagers took part in the mangrove planting initiative in Tavua to protect their coastline. Photo: Waisea Nasokia
September 13
10:00 2018


For families in the country mangroves are our lifeline, says Torika Lewaca.

The 59-year-old Tavualevu villager is one of the many women in Tavua who enjoys fishing. They depend on mangroves within their traditional fishing grounds for their livelihoods and protection from the impacts of salt water intrusion.

Ms Lewaca and fellow community members were part of a mangrove planting activity carried out along a section of Tavua Bay that forms the Tavualevu Village ‘coastline boundary.

About 400 mangrove propagules were directly planted within the village’s demarked coastline during last week’s Constitution Day. For Tavualevu Village, being one of the largest villages in Fiji, sustaining the community’s livelihood and food consumption is quite a challenge for families.

“Mangroves are not only home for crabs, but places for them to feed and grow. So we need to have a lot of mangroves in place to have a lot of crabs and fish,” Ms Lewaca said.

“I am here planting because I want our future crab catchers to not only also have the opportunity to hunt for crabs, but to have enough as well to  be able to feed our families and financially support them.”

Like other community members, she noticed changes to their mangrove areas that were destroyed by Tropical Cyclone Winston in 2016. Changes included a decline in crab and fish stock within their traditional fishing grounds.

The mangrove planting activity was led by WWF-Pacific as part of the continuous engagement and project partnership with the communities of Tavua district, which includes Tavualevu Village.

Tavualevu Village headman, Filimoni Caucau said: “Most of the people who volunteered are crab catchers. Mangroves are homes to crabs and we wanted to plant mangroves to also bring more crabs to support our livelihood.

“Here in Tavualevu, it’s unheard of for mangrove planting, but today we want to start something and we did.”

WWF-Pacific’s climate change support officer, Apolosa Robaigau said, “as a conservationist, it is a truly remarkable experience to be part of something like this where ownership is taken by those affected”.

Fiji has about 42,000 hectares of mangrove forest.

The Global Mangrove Alliance target of 20 per cent restoration means Fiji has to plant an additional 8520 hactares of mangroves by 2030.

Edited by Percy Kean



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