Fiji is a huge South Pacific archipelago, comprising 330 islands, of which 106 are permanently inhabited. It lies north of the tropic of Capricorn and slightly west of the International Date Line (UK +12hrs).
The vast majority of the population, around 840,000 at the last census, live on the two main islands, Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. One of our main community project partners is the Dawasamu Environment Movement, a new conservation group established in 2011 in Dawasamu District, home to three coastal and five inland villages.
Fiji’s amazing array of biodiversity is well represented in Dawasamu. There are hundreds of species of hard and soft coral, sea fans and sponges, a recorded 1,200 species of fish, nearly 500 species of mollusc including over 250 nudibranchs and over 100 bivalves.
Four of the seven species of marine turtle visit Fiji, including the green (Chelonia mydas) and hawksbill (Eretmochelys imbricata), both of which we see whilst SCUBA diving. The leatherback (Dermochelys coriacea) and loggerhead turtle (Caretta caretta) also have feeding grounds in Fijian waters.
More than twelve species of cetacean are also believed to visit the surrounding waters throughout the year and Dr. Cara Miller, attached to both the University and the Whale and Dolphin Conservation Society is a local expert on these amazing mammals and one of our local partners.
South Pacific Projects relationship with the people of Dawasamu, as well as with all of our other partners, guarantees success in establishing new Marine Protected Areas.