The Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau is reminding villages in the Yasawa Group to harvest marine resources sustainably as we prepare ourselves for tough times ahead.

Speaking in seven villages during his visit to Yasawa last week, Mr Koroilavesau reminded them of the need to sustain, protect and properly manage their resources harvested from the sea.

“I am aware that most of the men and women were working in resorts and hotels in the area and due to Covid 19, have lost their jobs,” added Mr Koroilavesau.

“This is perhaps going to be the most trying time for the nation as a whole as we try to address the challenges ahead. Let us work together so that we are able to slowly transform into the ‘new normal”, added Mr Koroilavesau.

“This is not the time to be making hasty decisions but definitely the time to be making wise ones as we try to help each other out in terms of food security and income generation and the overall sustainability of our resources”

Mr Koroilavesau added that it is also important that we remind ourselves of the close relationship of land based eco-systems, our ocean resources and the challenges of climate change.

“Therefore we need to take it on our part to be mindful of our actions. Deforestation, burning of vegetation for farming and unsustainable fishing practices are some of the activities that we need to address. Our commitment to sustainable practice is a must and should be shared by all.”

He added that our collective efforts will indeed sustain us now and more importantly, keep sustaining us to the future.

Through the Commissioner Western’s Office, the villages of Tamusua, Malakati, Nacula and Matacawalevu all received solar freezers which were handed over by the Honourable Prime Minister and Minister Koroilavesau last week.

Additionally, during his three-day tour, Mr. Koroilavesau helped deploy a total of seven Fishing Aggregate Devices (FADs) in the Yasawa waters.

Fishermen in 14 villages from the districts of Waya to Nacula will be able to fish around the FADs in weeks to come.

FADs consist of ropes, buoys and spat collectors. When deployed into the sea, the spat collectors attract small marine organisms which in turn attract ocean going pelagic fish such as marlin, tuna and mahimahi.
The Ministry of Fisheries has deployed over 100 FAD’s in waters all over Fiji.

FAD’s will be monitored by the Ministry through regular visits by fisheries officials and updates by the village headman.

Reports from the Eastern Division have seen the success of FAD operations especially in Kadavu.

“Fishermen in Kadavu have gone through deep sea fishing trainings conducted by the ministry and have been selling species like Tuna to civil servants at the Vunisea Government Station which is currently their biggest market,” said Mr Koroilavesau.

Fishermen in villages in Lau have also made great use of the FAD’s as they do not need to travel further out to sea but instead fish around the FAD’s.

Mr. Koroilavesau hopes that communities in the Yasawa Group of islands will soon be able to share their success stories in the weeks ahead, especially with FAD fishing.

In Yasawa, there has been a slow trickle of people moving back to their villages and communities after losing their jobs, especially in the tourism industry.

Life for them will never be the same but the ministry hopes to work closely with them and other communities around the country in addressing food security and livelihoods.

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