Ocean life in Oceania
15 May 2009 | News story
Pacific Islanders have a long history of connection to the oceans. It features in their dance, art, and provides sustenance for life.
More than 80 percent of Fiji’s 828,000 residents live along the coast, and most live in rural areas. Marine resources, particularly from inshore waters, are a main staple in the rural diet. Recent estimates have shown that 50 percent of all rural households participate in some form of subsistence fishing.
Tourism accounts for almost 20 percent of Fiji’s GDP and the expansion of this industry and other developments are putting increasing pressure on the fragile marine ecosystems.
IUCN’s Oceania office has been working closely with regional members to protect Fiji coastal ecosystems and promote sustainable livelihoods at the local, provincial and national levels.
The Compliance and Enforcement of Coastal Fisheries Management in Fiji Report was prepared for the University of the South Pacific. The report analyzes and addresses issues in compliance and enforcement by discussing, the legal and institutional framework for coastal fisheries management and issues for community-based marine resource management. The report has already brought about positive changes, as some of the practical recommendations it makes have been adopted by local Fisheries Officers.
The complimentary Integrated Coastal Management in Fiji and recommendations for improved decision-making report examines Fiji’s current legal and institutional capacity in this area and the experiences of local people with integrated coastal management issues. The report concludes by making a series of recommendations that address these issues. IUCN is assisting the University of the South Pacific in using the report as a foundation to improve inter-sectoral consultation on issues that affect the coastal areas of this island nation.
Working with the WWF South Pacific Programme, IUCN has prepared the Marine Protected Areas: Legislative and Policy Gap Analysis for Fiji Islands report. In this report, the authors provide a thoughtful analysis of key legal and policy issues associated with the establishment of marine protected areas in Fiji, with a particular emphasis on the role of local communities in the management of coastal marine resources. One of the key recommendations is the adoption of comprehensive protected area legislation to support the establishment of inshore and offshore marine protected areas.