Vatutavui villagers plant more mangroves
Community representatives and school children from the village of Vatutavui in Tavua took time off on Saturday (June 8th) to celebrate World Oceans Day by showing their support towards establishing a mangrove nursery.
With around 4000 mangrove seedlings planted, Vatutavui’s village headmen Niko Sucuvakaivalu said the support shown towards the mangrove replanting initiative was a step towards the right direction especially when children, young women and youths were directly involved in the work towards protecting mangroves for a healthy ocean and strengthening their community livelihoods.
Organized by WWF-Pacific, the mangrove replanting programme is supported by the Living with Change, Resilient Mangroves, Fisheries and People of Fiji and PNG project.
“The initiative undertaken by members of the community is part of our support towards World Oceans Day, as a community, we rely heavily on mangroves for food, medicine and our livelihood and this activity has enabled us to learn more about the benefits of mangroves to our community,” Sucuvakaivalu said.
WWF-Pacific’s Climate Change Support Officer Apolosa Robaigau said the mangrove replanting activity is an opportunity to advocate and increase awareness on empowering the villagers, youths and children of Vatutavui in the protection and wise use of mangroves.
“The day’s event was an opportunity for coastal communities to understand their role as custodians and how they can play a greater role in working towards protecting their shorelines from cyclonic winds, waves and floods through the replanting of mangroves in addition to advocating against the dumping of rubbish, overharvesting and reclamation,” Robaigau said.
He added that the village of Vatutavui is a very active conservation member within the Tavua district and hopes to see more communities supporting the initiative towards a healthy and sustainable community fishery.
WWF-Pacific Great Sea Reef Programme Manager Alfred Ralifo added that healthy mangroves are indicators of healthy oceans for strength and resilience and that all coastal communities in Fiji need to be made aware of its importance.
“Mangrove restoration is critical to both conservation of our marine resources which underpins sustainable development aspirations of our coastal communities , we cannot continue to lose mangroves because this would mean loss of livelihoods, food and economic security and coastal defences,” he added.