Tavua fishing communities commence on fish data collection
This comes after, WWF-Pacific coastal fisheries officer; Mr. Laitia Tamata was in Tavua last week to follow up on the fishing communities of Vanuakula, Nabuna, Nadolodolo and Yasiyasi and their progress on the LB-SPR concept.
“The purpose of the last two days was for one; to distribute the spawning per recruit measuring boards for the trained monitors to start their data collection. Two was to clarify the different species according to the local names as we all know one local name can have five or more species.
"For example, for the fish species Lethrinus lentjan or locally known as Sabutu, we had to find out if there were other local names as well. The third is to give a refresher course or awareness on the concept of Inshore Reef Fish Spawning per Recruit to the trained monitors,” highlighted Mr. Tamata.
November last year, the LB-SPR awareness survey was held in Tavualevu village for community representatives of Tavua district.
Mr. Tamata said general observation from last week’s trip showed there was a strong sense of commitment and interest shown by the Tavua communities towards the improvement of their inshore fisheries.
“It’s at their heart the Communities of Tavua, the Turaga na Tui Tavua and the Fisheries Department here, they all know there is work to be done and this is a start, that is collecting data in order for it to be used for effective fisheries management,” he added.
Tamata said constant follow ups are needed to ensure that communities are well informed about the status of the health of their fisheries.
“The end of February and the end of April will see other follow ups and this is to continue the relationship with the communities including the Tavua iQoliqoli committee, Turaga na Tui Tavua, and the Ministry of Fisheries,” Mr. Tamata said.
The LB-SPR survey was piloted in Macuata in 2014 with the results presented in 2016 to the community representatives of the iQoliqoli Cokovata which is made up of four fishing communities from the districts of Dreketi, Sasa,Macuata and Mali.
Succeeding that, stakeholders have opted to place a one year ban on the Kasala or Camouflage Grouper fish species before moving into implementing size limits.
“With much of the lessons learnt from Macuata, we have been able to use that here in Tavua. It’s a start but we are looking forward to the next three months.”
“It’s really positive, women, mothers and elders are showing their interest by asking questions, needing more awareness because this is a new concept but one that touches the skin of fisher folks.” Tamata said.
With strong support by the Ministry of Fisheries, the project is kindly funded through the David and Lucille Packard Foundation and aims at demonstrating effective governance and management approaches for inshore fisheries in Fiji through collaborative national and community driven partnerships.