Fiji Mangrove Campaign

Posted on 28 April 2013  | 
Fiji’s first National Awareness Campaign on mangroves launched recently will push for the adoption of a national policy on mangroves and the declaration of mangrove protected areas.

Minister for Local Government, Urban Development, Housing and Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua who launched the campaign led a mangrove replanting activity on the banks of the Lami creek, joined by children, council staff, officials from various government departments, academics and non government organisations.

“For too long we have viewed mangroves as just a useless swamp, emitting a not so pleasant smell and not really attractive to look at for instance like a beautiful rose bush,” he said.

“But let me tell you this – mangroves are more than just a swamp. They are an important national and natural resource that we must work together to protect and sustainably manage.

Colonel Saumataua said there has been a notable increase in the destruction of mangroves from development pressures and natural disasters amongst other threats and it has become increasingly imperative to implement sustainable management measures.

He added that though some mangrove sites will still have to be developed for the sake of the country’s economic and social development, principles of equity and sustainable development will be paramount.

The six months campaign with the theme “My Mangrove, My Livelihood, Noqu Dogo, Noqu Bula” specifically
targets mangrove delta communities, urban communities and government to raise awareness on the ecological, communal and social importance of mangrove forests.

Mangroves are dubbed the nursery of the seas, and are the important basis of a complicated food chain, are home to different types of fish and crustaceans, shelters young fish before they grow big enough for the reefs.

Mangrove forests are thus a food source for coastal communities, has special medicinal attributes, also serve as an important buffer protecting coasts from eroding under the force of ocean waves and filter sediments washing off land thus helping keep reefs clean.

An extremely valuable function of mangrove forests is their long term carbon sequestration capacity. As an important carbon sink they suck carbon out of the atmosphere.

The build-up of carbon-dioxide in the atmosphere, contributes greatly to the thickening blanket of gases and global warming.

The campaign is an initiative of WWF South Pacific AusAid Building Resilience Program, MESCAL Fiji, supported by the Mangrove Management Committee, the Department of Environment and the Department of Lands.

Activities like school outreach, public outreach through the mass media and featuring Tiri the mascot to raise the profile of mangrove forests.

Tiri the Mascot for the Mangrove Campaign hands over a mangrove plant to the Minister for Environment Colonel Samuela Saumatua to plant on the banks of the Lami creek launching Fiji's National Mangrove Awareness Campaign
© WWF South Pacific Enlarge
Colonel Saumatua plants a mangrove tree with these young children on the banks of the Lami Creek
© WWF South Pacific Enlarge
Dawn Gibson a journalist for the Fiji Times plants her mangrove heritage
© WWF South Pacific Enlarge
WWF South Pacific volunteers, non government organisation officials and Tiri, the campaign mascot
© WWF South Pacific Enlarge

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