Exploring the deep waters of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape

The majority of fishing within the Vatu-I-Ra Seascape is limited to relatively shallow waters of less than 30 metres. This has led to the theory that fish deeper than 30 metres may be naturally protected from fishing, known as a depth refuge effect. This depth refuge effect is difficult to study using conventional methods like […]

Lamenting the disappearance of the ‘erky-perkies’

My childhood memories of growing up in Fiji are filled with images of the islands, and playing on beaches and sand flats for hours upon end from day to night. Back then there was so much to see and explore – so much marine life scurrying about startled by our noisy feet and squeals of […]

Understanding the role communities play in the sea cucumber fishery

We are currently in Natokalau village, where we will be based for a week doing our value chain analysis surveys in different villages in Kubulau district, in Bua Province. Margaret Fox, Wildlife Conservation Society’s dynamic social scientist, has been leading the surveys with Tevita Vodivodi from the Department of Fisheries and our lively volunteers. Each […]

Natuvu Village – a sea cucumber success story, now vulnerable to poaching

Our first two survey days have been spent in Natuvu village in Wailevu West, in Cakaudrove Province. We chose this village because we had heard the local communities have been actively managing their sea cucumber resources through tabu areas (temporal closures) for many years now. With some initial support from the Department of Fisheries and […]

Value Chain Analysis – what is it, and why is it important?

Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Department of Fisheries staff members are partnering up to undertake a value chain analysis of the sea cucumber fishery in Fiji. While it might sound complicated it really isn’t. Basically a value chain is the full range of activities required to bring a product from its conception, through the different […]

Coral Disease research in the Vatu-i-Ra seascape

Fiji is known for its underwater “beauty” and the Vatu-i-Ra seascape is the “house” for it. A number of popular dive destinations, such as the Namena Marine Reserve and Vatu-i-Ra reef are within the seascape. However, the Vatu-i-Ra seascape in not just a dive destination, the seascape holds Fiji’s highest diversity of marine organisms (reef […]

Putting an economic value on fisheries and tourism in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape

The Vatu-i-Ra Seascape is one of the most biodiverse and productive areas in Fiji that supports local community livelihoods and the larger Fijian economy. Much of the tourism and fisheries in the seascape is dependent on healthy coral reefs and productive ocean in the seascape.
It is however, challenging to get people to truly appreciate the […]

Surveys done, despite a few bumps today

We woke up to another very rainy morning, the ground thoroughly soaked with the downpour we had last night. Still we were full of energy as it was our last day to complete the surveys inside and outside Natokalau’s tabu area.
Unfortunately, one of the hazards of working in remote locations is that boats break down, […]

Bad algae on coral reefs – bad news!

Despite dark ominous clouds over the sea, we headed out into the lagoon at Ovalau lagoon to survey reefs on the southwest of the island.

I was not prepared for what I saw under the water. All around me were patch reefs scattered over sand that were covered in thick algae that smothered everything in its […]

Exploring the outer reefs of Ovalau Island

Last night we stayed up late sharing a bowl of yaqona (also known as kava) and talked about some of the findings of the tabu surveys with village leaders, and what the results mean for their community. There is great enthusiasm to expand the tabu area further north, south and out to sea to provide […]