Rewa Delta Calls for Mangrove Protection
The people voiced their concerns while signing a petition seeking support for the declaration of Mangrove Protected Priority Areas and the strengthening of laws governing mangrove use.
Teeming with life, mangroves in the Rewa delta support a fishery that consists of the sale of qari (mud crabs), mana (mud lobsters) and moci (shrimps) also a daily source of food and protein.
The thousands of acres of mangrove forests that thrive near the mouths of large rivers also provide the additional crucial function of slowing the water’s flow, through the accumulation of sediments consisting of sand and mud that help protect the coastline by preventing erosion.
In the midst of cultural pomp andthe air of camaraderie and fundraising of Rewa Day held at Syria Park in Nausori recently, people signed the petition taking the time to express their satisfaction that mangrove protection was being actively pursued.
WWF South Pacific and MESCAL Project field officers within the Department of Environment caught up with Karalaini Qalisa who has been selling shrimps for the past 30 years.
Qalisa is from Nadoi village, located in a flat area of the Rewa delta often a victim of flooding.
“If all our mangroves go, then this place will turn into a desert and we will surely starve because our survival is linked to the survival of the swamp,” she said.
“We go get moci (shrimp) every week and I just can’t imagine what would happen if we didn’t have moci any more.
“If there are no mangroves, then all the water from the Rewa River will flood the waterways and it will be difficult to catch moci.”
The people also eagerly anticipate a new Mangrove Management plan that they feel will allow for protection of mangrove forests.
The petition supports the efforts of the National Mangrove Campaign jointly launched this year by WWF South Pacific AusAID Building Resilience to Climate Change programme, Department of Environment, Mescal Fiji Project of IUCN Oceania and the Department of Lands.
AusAID BR programme coordinator Stephanie Robinson said the petition is inching closer to the 5,000 target signatures by October.
“We’ve collected more than 1,000 signatures so far through engaging at events, with communities and are optimistic we will achieve the target.”