The objective of this voluntary commitment is to develop a legally recognized multiple-use marine spatial plan for Fijian waters. The plan will include a range of marine managed areas and help protect marine ecosystems.
Oceanic resources and activities contribute billions of dollars (FJD) annually to the Fijian economy in terms of food, livelihoods, coastal protection and reduction of climate change impacts. Fiji contains high biodiversity and includes coastal habitats (e.g. coral reefs, mangroves, seagrass) and open ocean habitats (e.g. seamounts, canyons, hydrothermal vents and ridges) many of which host very high rates of species endemism. This biodiversity is being threatened by overuse and competing usage, and puts the well-being of the Fijian people at risk.
To address these challenges the Fijian government recognises that protection and management of natural resources is needed at scale, which must include ecosystem-based management approaches that address ecosystem connectivity, incorporate the diverse array of sectors and stakeholders with interests in the coastal and marine environment, and, build upon work achieved to date. The Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area network has established community managed iqoliqoli areas within the coastal marine environment throughout Fiji, laying a pivotal foundation for future efforts.
There are a number of areas already identified of national significance and a high priority where efforts are underway to scale-up management. These include:
Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is a unique, ecologically connected and productive area in Fiji that covers the inshore and offshore waters adjacent to Bua, Ra, Tailevu and Lomaiviti Provinces. The area boasts colourful and diverse coral reef communities, globally important seabird congregations, and is a national hotspot for whales. Tourism and fisheries alone is valued at US$34.1 million in the seascape.
Great Sea Reef (GSR) is the third longest reef system in the southern hemisphere, and contains over half of Fijis known reef fish species and nearly three-quarters of Fijis coral species. 80 per cent of Fijis commercial inshore catch comes from the GSR provinces of Macuata, Bua, Ra and Ba, and was valued in 2014 at nearly US$14.2 million per year for commercial fisheries, or US$28.5 million per year with the inclusion of subsistence fisheries.
The Lau Group is comprised of 60 islands and islets scattered across Fijis eastern archipelago, the Lau Seascape is the most extensive and interlinked island systems in Fiji. It houses unique and diverse assemblages of marine and terrestrial ecosystems and wildlife that are nationally and globally significant.
The Great Astrolabe Reef in Kadavu Province is a complex and interlinked 100 km long coral reef complex, home to many breeding marine populations and a refuge for endemic species that are also nationally and globally important.
A management plan with zones will be developed and gazetted to complement inshore locally managed marine areas.
A 2030 strategic development plan will be in place over Kadavu Island and Province and the Great Astrolabe Reef, and will include offshore managed area as a buffer zone, 100% renewable energy, protection of water-catchment areas and an organic island certification system. By 2018, Naiqoro Passage in Kadavu will be gazetted to protect critical grouper spawning aggregations.
The Great Sea Reef and coastal ecosystems will be more suited to withstand the effects of climate change and support sustainable and inclusive livelihoods.
The Lau seascape will implement a series of integrated terrestrial and marine managed areas, operating under a co-management framework. The areas will be developed through ecosystem-based spatial planning to achieve sustainable production targets, maintenance of ecosystem services and food security for remote island communities, as well as overall protection of Laus natural capital for the sustainable development of the islands of Lau to support the wellbeing of its citizens.
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Funds : (1) Marine Spatial Planning: Funding via MACBIO Project from Federal Ministry for the Environment Nature Conservation, Building and Nuclear Safety International Climate Initiative (BMUB-IKI) through IUCN in a project partnership with Deutsche Ges
Staff / Technical expertise
Ministry of Fisheries, Department of Environment, Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas Network (FLMMA), Conservation International (CI), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wildlife Fund for N
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Technical support through the National Protected Areas Committee (under Department of Environment), and MPA Technical Advisory group (under the Ministry of Fisheries)