The role of seagrass in the natural ecosystem for the production of a food chain for conservation and protection of marine life is vital.
This was highlighted by the Minister for Waterways, Environment, and Agriculture Hon. Dr Mahendra Reddy while launching a Seagrass nursery and a conservation site at Maui Bay in Sigatoka today.
Minister Reddy reiterated that Seagrass not only plays a vital role in the food chain for marine life but also helps in sedimentation retention and prevents coastal erosion.
“Seagrass has enriched biodiversity and provides one of the most highly productive ecosystems in the world as these meadows provide shelter and food to an incredibly diverse species of marine life.
“A wide range of vertebrate and invertebrate species organisms rely on Seagrass patches for their nursing grounds determining the overall health of the coastal ecosystem,” Minister Reddy said.
He said while seagrasses provide significant ecosystem services to the marine ecosystem, human behavior such as improper solid waste disposal, reclamation of land for coastal development, etc is threatening its existence. ‘Seagrass ecosystems are also threatened by climate change from thermal pollution, ocean acidification, increased frequency of storms, and changes in water flow.”
Minister Reddy also acknowledges the importance of the Public-Private Partnership for the conservation and protection of Fiji’s marine eco-system. Meanwhile, the Director for the Maui Palm, Ms. Christine Badia acknowledged the initiative undertaken by the Ministry of Waterways and Environment towards protecting the natural resources.
“We are thankful for this initiative led by the government through the Ministry of Waterways and Environment in terms of protecting the ecosystem and through this initiative and also working with us through the involvement of private partnerships,”
“We do hope that more stakeholders come forward and be part of this initiative in terms of preserving our natural resources,” she said.