Locals can make a difference. The local communities in Fiji play a vital role in that island nation’s protection of marine protected areas, according to a paper published by researchers from the Global Change Institute at the University of Queensland, the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, and the Wildlife Conservation Society.
According to the study, by 2020, Fijians will protect between 12 to 18 percent of all of the nation’s coastal and inshore marine habitats within the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) network. At this rate, the study says, the island nation is on target to reach half of its national government goal, which is to protect 30 percent of Fiji’s inshore habitat.
“The results of the study are remarkable given that locally managed marine area networks in Fiji and the Western Pacific region are generally established only to meet local objectives, most notably to improve food security,” Dr. Morena Mills, lead author of the paper.
While the people of Fiji have made significant strides in protecting their natural resources, more work needs to be done, as the study says that the nation’s mangrove forests, intertidal mudflats, and coral reefs are still in need of more stringent management.
The Republic of Fiji is an island nation in the south Pacific that is about 1,100 nautical miles northeast of New Zealand. It is home to a variety of marine species, including Montipora capricornis, toadstool coral, neon damselfish, convict tangs, and raccoon butterflyfish.