Caption: Turaga ni Koro of Kavewa Village Emosi Time with his line of seaweed. File Photo.
By DR AJANTHA PERERA, Assistant Professor, Dept. of Environmental Science, FNU
Since childhood most people have considered oceans and Rivers as providers of food for mankind. We play on the beach, we go for a swim in the ocean or river, but very rarely consider oceans and rivers as our lifelines. If we see a beautiful sight of a fishermen fishing in the vast ocean or on a lonely boat in the river at sunset we automatically take our camera to grab a nice photo. Yet how often do we think that our lives are closely bound to these natural beauties. That without them we could starve or die of dehydration.
Rivers provide us with water which we require to drink daily. Industrial effluents, the agrochemicals, garbage have been discharged into rivers for years and years. Every town council, municipal council spends millions of dollars to clean the water we drink. Bottled water that says it is from a pure stream gets multitude of buyers.
The fisher folk that harvest fish from the oceans do provide fish to the common man. Yet many fishermen, who harvest fish from the oceans, use fishing gears which are harmful. The sea grass beds, the corals, the mangroves, which help the young fish larvae to grow and which are homes of most fish are destroyed by the fishing methods. At times the damage is so vast that it takes years to repair.
Oceans and Rivers are our lifelines. Without them human beings would not be able to get sufficient proteins in their diet or have water to drink for survival. The Conference on Oceans and Rivers (ICOR) is scheduled for the 13th to 15th of October. It is an opportunity for scientist and those in Commerce to debate on the role of industry and the role of every segment of society to sustain these resources for the benefit of mankind. Fishery industry is important, agriculture is important, shipping is important, ports and harbors and hotels are important. Yet the question is how we maintain these with minimum damage to our environment.
All these and many more are to be discussed at the conference. P-JOR (Pacific Journal on Oceans and Rivers) will summarize the best inputs of the conference. Send your papers soon; the deadline for papers is the 15th of September. The website of the conference is http://www.fnu.ac.fj/icor/ . PJOR will assist you to carry your message forward to the next generation. Join the conference to make a difference.