By Watisoni Lalavanua

One of the truly special things about diving the Namena Marine Reserve is the number of iconic species you can see such as sharks, turtles and humphead wrasse, known locally as Kalia. Turtles and humphead wrasse are so endangered globally, that they are listed on the Convention for the International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITES). Both are also protected in Fiji under a national moratorium.

While white-tip sharks are not protected, sharks declines are an increasing concern both in Fiji and globally. Sharks which are often referred to as apex predators, play important role on reefs keeping the ecosystems in balance, and the majority of sharks are harmless to humans. The loss of apex predators in a reef ecosystem can upset the natural food web and lead to potential changes the composition of the reef community.

Diving with iconic species in Namena has given the team hope in aftermath of Cyclone Winston that recovery is possible. Continuing support marine managed areas such as the propose Vatu-i-Ra marine protected area and the Namena marine reserve will assist in safeguarding our iconic species and it is a safe haven for them even during disasters.

#Support Vatu-i-Ra Seascape.