Fijian Reefscape

Overview

Fiji is a critical site for global coral reef conservation with 10,000 square kilometers of coral reef and an astounding 42 percent of the world’s coral species. Fiji’s coral reefs face significant global and local threats including climate change, overfishing and pollution.

CORAL has more than 15 years of experience working in Fiji on coral reef conservation, with an emphasis on engaging stakeholders in the effective management of Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs). CORAL’s work in Fiji focuses on our Healthy Fisheries for Reefs, Intact Reef Ecosystems and Science of Adaptation Initiatives.

We work in four priority sites, which together form the cornerstone of a Fijian Adaptive Reefscape — a network of healthy reefs that can adapt to climate change because it is diverse, connected, and large.

Background

Fiji’s largest no-take LMMA and a top global dive site – the Namena Marine Reserve – is part of the traditionally-owned fishing grounds, or iqoliqoli, of the Kubulau community on the northern island of Vanua Levu. Over a decade ago, CORAL began working in close collaboration with the Kubulau community members and private businesses to develop a system to protect these fisheries from overexploitation, while creating a sustainable management system that would provide benefits to the community. CORAL supported Kubulau in establishing a transparent voluntary dive fee system for tourists visiting Namena, which has been very successful (more than US$20,000 was raised in 2015 alone). These funds cover critical management costs of Namena (such as law enforcement patrols), community infrastructure projects (such as the construction of bus shelters) and a scholarship program that has benefitted over 200 students to date.

Our work in Kubulau represents a replicable and scalable model for how to build an effective local management system that provides both ecological and socioeconomic benefits, and which has the financial means and staff capacity to achieve independence. As the Kubulau community has moved towards independent management, we have expanded our work to three new areas in Fiji: Oneata, Waivunia and Ra Province. In these communities, we are helping build durable management systems by applying best practices and lessons learned from our work with the Kubulau community.

Highlights

  • 2001: CORAL begins working in Fiji with a focus on the Namena Marine Reserve
  • 2004: CORAL plays an instrumental role in creating a volunteer dive tag program for Namena, which raises funds to support local conservation activities
  • 2005: CORAL supports partners and the Kubulau community in developing the first ecosystem-based management plan for Namena Marine Reserve
  • 2009: CORAL improves management of Namena by helping the community to establish the Kubulau Resource Management Committee (KRMC)
  • 2011: CORAL helps Namena become Fiji’s first anchor-free MPA by installing mooring buoys throughout the reserve
  • 2012: CORAL helps the community establish the Kubulau Business Development Committee (KBDC), an advisory body providing business guidance to the KRMC
  • 2014: KRMC achieves autonomous management of the volunteer dive fee program
  • 2015: Five poachers are apprehended thanks to the law enforcement protocol that was developed jointly by CORAL and the Kubulau community
  • 2016: The Kubulau community has the capacity to rapidly and effectively respond to severe damage caused by Tropical Cyclone Winston
  • 2016: CORAL launches work in three new sites: Oneata, Waivunia and Ra Province

Staff

Alisi Rabukawaqa
Program Coordinator
Viti Levu
John Vonokula
Program Coordinator
Vanua Levu
Sarah Eminhizer
Associate Program Director
Oakland, California (HQ)

 

Map

Map of CORAL's Field Sites in Fiji

CORAL’s Field Sites in Fiji

Additional Resources