During these trying times, the 4FJ campaign is asking supporters nationwide to help protect the nation’s food security by keeping the pledge to forego kawakawa and donu fisheries during their 4-month peak breeding season, which begins today.
“COVID-19 has hit Fiji hard, and people will need to turn to the seas more in the months ahead,” said Scott Radway, executive director of cChange, the organisation that coordinates the cross sectoral campaign.
“So how do communities get more fish? By fishing smart and for kawakawa and donu that means making sure they get space to breed each year.” “So if you can, please keep the pledge,” Radway said.
Kawakawa and donu, known as grouper in English, are particularly vulnerable to overfishing because they gather predictably each year in the same channels to breed.
Those sites are often fished heavily, particularly for high-volume commercial fishing, leaving few fish behind to restock Fiji reefs. Of the known breeding sites in Fiji, 80 percent are declining or gone, Fiji government reported.
The 4FJ campaign, launched in 2014, seeks pledges from people across the country to forego these declining fish, June through September, their peak breeding months. In return, the fisheries can recover and Fijians get more fish the other eight months of the year.
To date, 4FJ has received more than 26,000 pledges in Fiji. Since its launch, the campaign has a built a broad coalition that includes fishermen, traditional leaders and political leaders, including 4FJ pledges from institutions such as the Methodist Church of Fiji, Morris Hedstrom, Newworld IGA, Jack’s of Fiji, Digicel Fiji, and the Fiji Hotel and Tourism Association.
The campaign is also supported by a diverse group of local champions including Waisele Serevi, Gareth Baber, Roy Krishna, Tui Macuata Ratu Wiliame Katonivere, Chef Lance Seeto, Makare Band, Nur Bano Ali, and Suliana Siwatibau.
In 2018, the Government of Fiji legally banned all fishing, transport and trade of kawakawa and donu during the peak spawning months, June through September.