Marine Conservation and Research:
Many village communities in Fiji have noted the decline in their fish stocks in recent years. For communities reliant on marine resources for food and income, positive action is needed now to reverse this trend. The powerful combination of local community knowledge and the support offered by organisations like South Pacific Proejcts can help create more sustinable fisheries in Fiji. Our research is targeted to provide communities with the most useful data we can gather on their behalf. We guarantee our donors that their contribution will help establish Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in Fiji. Well managed MPAs have been demonstrably proven worldwide to increase fish stocks and protect biodiversity.
Education and Awareness:
For conservation to really work, local communities must be completely on-side throughout the whole process. Educational outreach programmes are the means to provide the necessary information to communities, to answer queries and to mutually exchange ideas and knowledge. South Pacific Projects local staff and Scholarship candidates help raise awareness in local communities. One of our new initiatives for 2011 was the creation of an educational and awareness campaign about Spinner dolphins and other cetaceans seen in our area.
Marine resources are under considerable strain from local coastal communities from subsistence, artisanal and commercial fisheries in addition to poaching which is now rife in many countries. Typically there are few alternatives for rural communities that occupy the coastlines of developing countries. Research and implementation of sustainable alternative livelihood projects for coastal community members is essential to reduce the pressure on already depleted marine resources. One very important aspect of alternative livelihoods is the training and employment of local residents on our project.
Collaboration and Facilitation:
All of our project partners are respected and legitimate authorities in their respective fields of community conservation, science and Government Fisheries. We work directly with all of our partners and local communities, and openly sharing our findings for the benefit of our partners.
Opportunities for additional experience and training can be limited in developing countries, yet it is essential for staff and students of relevant management and research organisations to develop, grow and progress within their roles. By offering Scholarships to our project partner’s staff and indigenous university students, we aim to further their experiences building a stronger base for conservation in our host countries.