Seeing the threat poachers are posing on food security in the island of Taveuni, 35 fish wardens have been trained to address this.In a two-day training at Naselesele Village this week, organized by Conservation International, two Ministry of Fisheries officers facilitated the training which drew a lot of interest from participants.

The training was made possible under the SPREP Pacific Partnership on Ocean Acidification (PPOA) Project.

Participants in an earlier workshop conducted by SPREP in 2018 reported that poaching was a challenge in and around Taveuni’s fishing grounds.

Given the increasing population in villages and settlements, marine reserves as food security are being threatened by these outside poachers.

The Fish Warden training, which was on Monday and Tuesday, included 2 ladies from Naselesele Village who, upon receiving their certificates, said that they want to help other wardens by policing the iqoliqoli (traditional fishing grounds).

The training was an activity under the PPOA project which also includes restoration of giant clams, corals, mangroves and seagrass.

The training covered topics ranging from the Fisheries Act, types of fishing license and jurisdiction, requirements of obtaining a license, roles of a fish warden, boundaries of work for a fish warden, powers rendered to a fish warden to confiscate catch, evidence gathering and handing over evidence to Police.

There were group work and presentations and some role playing to assist the participants understand more the magnitude of the task they have been entrusted with.

The fish wardens’ identification (ID) cards will be processed this month and sent to them for use during the course of their duty.

The chiefs of Vuna, Wainikeli and Cakaudrove districts respectively will be advised on the names of the new trainees so they are aware of who will be playing the warden role in the respective iqoliqolis (traditional fishing grounds).

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