Protection and Management of All Marine Mammal Species in Fiji
by Ministry of Fisheries and Department of Environment, Fiji (Government)
The objective of this voluntary commitment is to launch the Fiji Whale and Dolphin Action Plan to protect whale and dolphins within Fijian waters. This commitment is a follow-up to the Fijian Governments declaration of the Fijian Exclusive Economic Zone as a whale sanctuary in March of 2003.
Population levels of humpback whales and other whale species are at critically low levels, and the Oceania humpback whale sub-population has been declared endangered.
There is a relatively high diversity of cetacean species found in Fiji, including 10 confirmed species, with as many as 15 other species likely to also occur as resident or transient species. Some species migrate through Fijian seas. For other species, such as humpbacks, it is a breeding and calving area, and there are small resident populations of species such as spinner dolphins. Realising the importance of these species, the Fijian Government and its partners recognise the need to protect these marine mega-fauna and their habitats, and seek to promote an additional source of livelihood through ecotourism.
Through this commitment, the Ministry of Fisheries and partners will focus on research and data gathering of these species in the different parts of Fiji where they have been observed and documented. A recent workshop provisionally identified a number of important Marine Mammal Areas (IMMAs) in Fiji and once these IMMAs, including migratory routes and calving sites, are identified and formally mapped out, they will then be gazetted, together with appropriate management measures. Non-extractive activities will be regulated in these IMMAs.
1. By 2018, the Fiji Whale and Dolphin Action Plan will be finalised, after wider group consultation is carried out with relevant stakeholders.
2. By 2020, two Important Marine Mammal Areas in Fiji, the Vatu-i-Ra channel and the Central Viti Levu Region, known humpback whale migration, breeding and calving areas, will be gazetted, protected and sustainably managed.
Staff / Technical expertise
Funds will be secured for research from Ministry of Fisheries, Department of Environment and SPREP. SPREP has confirmed that it is willing to provide technical support, expertise and assistance in securing funds for the delivery and implementation of thes
Time-frame: July 2017 - July 2030
Government: Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and Ministry of Education; Tourism and the Maritime Safety Authority of Fiji (MSAF)
NGOs: Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF), International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN), University of the South Pacific (USP)
Private Sector: Resort Owners, Dive Operators Association, Fiji Tuna Industry Association
Regional Organisation: Secretariat of the Pacific Regional Environment Programme (SPREP)
General public, provincial administration staff, ecotourism operators based on whale and dolphin population health.
AISAKE BATIBASAGA, Director Research - Fiji Fisheries Department, email@example.com,