Our team includes scientific advisors like Ruth Kamrowski MSc Marine Ecology & Environmental Management. Ruth is currently studying for her PhD at James Cook University in Australia and her research focuses on marine turtles. South Pacific Projects also provides sponsorship for Fijian University students like AlisiRabukawaqa BSc Marine Science. Alisi is currently studying for a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation Biology at the University of the South Pacific in Suva, Fiji.
South Pacific Projects works directly with local staff and researchers from Fiji’s Department of Fisheries the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network (FLMMA) and The University of the South Pacific (USP) . This enables us to benefit from their valuable local taxonomic, biological and traditional knowledge.
Ruth grew up in South Wales in the UK and holds a MSc in Marine Ecology & Environmental Management (with Distinction) and was awarded a full scholarship to attend James Cook University in Townsville, Australia to undertake her PhD research. Ruth’s recent research has involved tagging Flatback turtles (Natator depressus) on remote islands off the east coast of Australia.
Ruth spent time in Fiji as a Research Assistant with South Pacific Projects prior to her PhD and has a comprehensive understanding of the Marine Resource Inventory (MIR) methods that are used by FLMMA and the Fisheries Dept’ to assist with site selection for new community-managed MPAs in Fiji.
Alisi gained a BSc in Marine Science at the University of the South Pacific and is a staunch supporter of shark conservation initiatives in Fiji. After winning both Miss Fiji and Miss South Pacific in 2011, she used those platforms to publicise and discuss the plight facing sharks in Fijian waters. SPP invited Alisi to take part in a pioneering Spinner dolphin research & conservation project at the Moon Reef MPA and after seeing the dedication and hard work she put in over the two weeks, we offered to use funding from the Sea Life Lonodn Aquarium to sponsor her University fees to study for a Postgraduate Diploma in Conservation Biology in 2012.
Howard established SPP in 2008 and continues to lead the organisation and direct new projects. One of his favourite memorable moments in recent years was the day in 2011 that the community of Dawasamu District came together and designate Moon Reef as a Marine Protected Area. It is the first of its kind in Fiji as the MPA protects the only resident pod of Spinner dolphins in the country. In 2013, Howard will expand the remit of South Pacific Projects in the Pacific region in collaboration with the Whale & Dolphin Conservation Society International. Their Pacific Programme Manager, Dr. Cara Miller, can be seen here at Moon Reef with Howard during the installation of an MPA signboard in June this year.