A workshop was organized by the University of Fiji (UniFiji) on USAIDs Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM) Project titled “Developing of Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific” at the Lautoka Waterfront Hotel on 2nd December 2015. The objectives of the workshop were:
1. To provide information on the USAIDs funded climate change adaptation project; “Developing of Base Maps of Tropical Aquatic Resources in the Pacific”.
2. To present and discuss the Monitoring and Evaluation plan for the shallow water aquatic resource mapping project.
MACBIO is involved in Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) to assist Fiji Government with achieving the 30% marine protected areas (MPAs) network commitment. This was a platform to discuss MACBIO’s role and use of Geospatial Science (GS) to guide candidate sites for MPAs. MACBIO being the Secretariat is also represented on Protected Areas Committee (PAC) and Marine Working Group (MWG) under Environment Management Act (EMA 2005).
At the workshop, the MACBIO team & Mamanuca Environment Society (MES) staff provided an update on the status of the information MES has given. MACBIO team also met with the Marine Biologist of Shangri-La Marine Education Centre to discuss the involvement of the Tikina of Cuvu in marine conservation.
The MACBIO project whose main objective is to strengthen the sustainable management of marine and coastal biodiversity in the Republic of Fiji, the Republic of Kiribati, the Solomon Islands, the Kingdom of Tonga and the Republic of Vanuatu, were invited as a key stakeholder in advising UniFiji on aspects of data requirements and process for mapping aquatic resources. A joint presentation was done at the forum on MACBIO objectives, how it contributes and will assist Fiji Government in achieving the 30% network of MPAs.
The four main outputs of the MACBIO project are:
i. To support marine spatial planning.
ii. Mainstream and extend re-designed MPA networks using seascape-level planning and to demonstrate effective approaches to site management.
iii. Payment for ecosystem services through economic valuation; and
iv. Tried and tested concepts and instruments will be shared and, hopefully, adopted throughout the Pacific community and disseminated internationally.
The outputs (i) and (ii) align with the Fiji Government’s MPAs network commitments.
Currently, MACBIO is working on analysis regarding the legislative framework that currently surrounds marine protected area implementation, exploration of lessons learned from locally managed marine areas, some lessons learned from management efforts at other selected sites and possibly a trial or exploration of the concept of payments for ecosystem services.
MACBIO is also currently working with the University of Queensland to prepare a regional bio-regionalisation. Upon completion in mid-2016, it will assist in the identification and selection of candidate marine protected sites.The GS within MACBIO intends to:
• Support Governments with marine mapping and GIS needs
• Identify marine and coastal data
• Assist the compilation and consolidation of data
• Transform data into suitable spatial format for Marine Spatial Planning (MSP)
• Provide hands-on training: in-country - capacity building (QGIS)
• Coordinate with other projects in-country
The sources for spatial data are Government/NGOs (closed sources) and Regional/Global data sources (open sources). Open source data include biophysical data such as habitat, species diversity, chlorophyll, sea surface temperature, geomorphology, dissolved oxygen, seamounts, basins etc.
Mamanuca Environement Society (MES) and Shangri-La
MES has been an active stakeholder for MACBIO project. This society works with hotels/resorts, dive operators and communities in Mamanucas to raise awareness in marine conservation. MES continually provides data on turtle nesting, breeding and foraging ground in Mamanucas.
Following community consultation, MES has also given correct reef names. MACBIO team has also advised MES to get community knowledge on resources and possible significant species during specific times of the year for protection that may suggest seasonal protection for example, grouper spawnings.
Shangri-La has a Marine Education Centre for education and awareness on marine conservation. The centre is setup using recycled material depicting the difference between healthy and disturbed marine environment. This work involved volunteers as hotel guests including children and conservation camps. An MPA has been initiated by the hotel, however some poaching is evident, with disturbance from poor land practices (farming and piggery) that is discharged by the river into the marine environment
GS Consultant displayed the current layer of information and how the priorities may take shape that builds on from marine biodiversity priorities that was identified in 2003 for Fiji. This was initiated by Worldwide Fund for Nature (WWF) and was known as the Fiji Islands Marine Ecoregion (FIME).
In 2010, Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) convened a gap analysis workshop with respective Provincial Offices in Fiji under the Programme of Work on Protected Areas (PoWPA). The objective of this workshop was to identify candidate sites for protection and management within each province which could simultaneously satisfy national and provincial biodiversity conservation and resource management objectives.
A similar workshop was convened in 2012 known as the Ecologically and Biologically Significant Marine Areas (EBSAs) under Convention on Biological diversity (CBD) Aichi Targets with target 11 focusing specifically on marine and coastal biodiversity to achieve sustainable fisheries and protection of at least 10% of the world’s marine and coastal areas by 2020.
However, detailed data is needed to refine the current priority boundaries with information available.
MACBIO intends to assist MES and Shangri-La by providing training in GS and on collecting marine biological data using simple methods such as Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network (GCRMN) and data analysis in Ms-Excel and is currently being discussed by MACBIO Senior Project Advisor and IUCN Marine Coordinator.
The workshop was funded by USAIDs PACAM and was officially opened by Eleni Tokaduadua, Principan Environment Officer, Department of Environment. Participants included representatives from the Department of Environment, the Fiji Meteorological Services, Ministry of iTaukei Affairs and community representatives.
For more information contact Naushad Yakub, Projects Liaison Officer, MACBIO at [email protected]