Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN strengthen Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park’s Monitoring and Surveillance

Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN strengthen Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park’s Monitoring and Surveillance

By Vijay Narayan
Friday 03/06/2022
[Image: Supplied]

The coastal communities of Nakorotubu District in Ra Province now have ten fish wardens and a patrol boat to help monitor and safeguard Fiji’s largest conservation park, established as a partnership between local communities and tourism operators.

Protected within the Conservation Park, Vatu Island is home to a multitude of breeding seabirds, and its surrounding waters support a rich biodiversity of marine life including one of the most flourishing reef systems world-renowned for diving.

To implement the management plan that prohibits fishing in no-take zones, or limits certain activities such as accessing the island without consent of the landowning community, the Wildlife Conservation Society, International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and the Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Board of Trustees have supported fish warden training and handed over a patrol boat to the Management Committee that will coordinate and implement the monitoring and surveillance of the Conservation Park.

Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji Country Director, Paul van Nimwegen says that strengthened surveillance efforts will help the community to monitor the management rules outlined in the plan.

He says the fish wardens, equipped with a patrol boat, will help protect customary fishing grounds that the communities rely on for food security and income generated through tourism operations.

The Chair for the Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Management Committee, Emori Latibau says having fish wardens patrol the conservation park would be a deterrent for poachers as well.

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