Stakeholders at the ‘Spatial Planning in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape’ workshop at Tanoa Plaza today.Photo:SUPPLIED.
Government’s commitment to protect 30 per cent of its marine areas by 2020 was reiterated at a workshop in Suva today.
The workshop with the theme ‘Spatial Planning in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape’ aims to establish marine protected areas in the Vatu-i-Ra seascape by mapping out important biological, ecological, social and economic features in Vatu-i-Ra.
Opening the workshop Permanent Secretary for Fisheries and Forests Inoke Wainiqolo said that the establishment of deep water marine protected areas targeting 30 per cent of offshore areas by 2020 is deemed an immediate priority for the next five years.
PS Wainiqolo said this was one of the main issues highlighted in the recently launched Green Growth Framework which supports the establishment of deep water marine protected areas.
“An economic valuation of tourism and fisheries in Vatu-i-Ra in 2014 estimated the annual value of fisheries and tourism in Vatu-i-Ra Seascape at $71, 821,300,” Mr Wainiqolo said.
“However, human related activities have intensified over the years. Unless we make sure we balance our use of the area, through adaptive management strategies, and managing the impacts and also developing a vision for sustainable resource use, we will lose the things we value in the seascape.”
Mr Wainiqolo stressed the importance of the workshop and stated that this is the first step to moving forward with discussions and strategies to protect our marine life.
The one and half day workshop organized by Wildlife Conservation Fiji is attended by stakeholders from the tourism, government, community and fishing sectors.