FIJI SUN NEWS - 02 December 2010
Fiji is rich in marine biodiversity and we must act to protect and manage sustainably this gift of nature for our future generations to enjoy the same, says the Tui Macuata Ratu Aisea Katonivere.
Ratu Aisea made the plea yesterday at the first commemoration event of the International World Fisheries Day in Fiji.
The two-day celebrations, held in Labasa, opened with a march through the Labasa Town by civil servants, students and supporters - waving a banner high that read ‘Save our Habitat - Plant Mangroves’.
Ratu Aisea, who is an advocate for conservation, called on the people in Vanua Levu to adopt sustainable management strategies to protect the environment, especially the sea resources.
“I for one am an advocate of the ‘ridge to reef” concept and applaud the Government, in particular the Ministry of Fisheries and Forests, for their commitment to improve the sustainable management of the connectivity of land and marine resources,” Ratu Aisea said.
The Macuata paramount chief said having the celebrations for the first time was a timely one, given the intense involvement of local communities, civil society and Government partners to reduce threat to inshore fish stocks.
“We need to collectively step up to ensure that our current needs are met and our future generations inherit a bountiful and healthy fisheries resources,” the chief said.
The theme for the World Day Commemoration in Fiji: ‘Healthy Habitat, Plant Mangroves’ encompasses a concept now advocated globally and nationally.
This is the ridge to reef or the ecosystem-based management approach to sustainable natural resources use.
Ratu Aisea said the approach augurs well with the Ministry’s plant-one-million-tree campaign.
“As island communities of small land masses in vast bodies of water, out subsistence and economic way of life is driven by the ocean environment,” Ratu Aisea said.
“Our marine, freshwater and land systems are seamlessly connected.”
In the past two years, Macuata and Cakaudrove provinces hosted a joint campaign with the slogan ‘I love my tabu area’.
This initiative has sparked an attitude and behavioural change in the people towards protecting their marine resources either in the tabu area or outside for their livelihoods.