The village of Kiuva, Bau in Tailevu set a milestone achievement this morning when the Kiuva Marine Reserve was launched by Minister for Fisheries, Semi Koroilavesau.
Through a partnership with the Ministry of Fisheries and the vision of the late Roko Tui Kiuva, together with the entire village, designated inshore waters east of Kiuva Village with an area covering approximately 7.285 kilometres will be a fully protected no-take-area meaning that there shall be no fishing allowed within the designated boundaries.
“It is befitting for Government through the Ministry of Fisheries to thank you most sincerely for this milestone achievement , as we are now witnessing the fruit of your visionary leadership and foresight,” said Koroilavesau.
“You have set in place a model- for leadership in marine resource management and conservation at community level which no doubt will be replicated across the country,” explained Koroilavesau.
“With the launching of this marine reserve, there is a regulation that shall enforce the conservation goals and fisheries resource management objectives of this first gazetted community based marine reserve for Fiji.”
The reef systems across Kiuva have been traditionally endowed with abundant fisheries resources, but which are now increasingly coming under heavy fishing pressures, and thus further challenged by increasing levels of poaching incidences, particularly from outsiders.
Koroilavesau further added that in terms of policy framework, the Fiji government clearly appreciates the success and overwhelming support from the local communities.
“You will definitely reap the rewards in years to come and most importantly, generations to come.”
At the community level, Fiji recognizes the importance of all marine and coastal ecosystems through its intimate cultural and traditional links to the sea.
Koroilavesau added that Fiji is a leader in addressing the unique marine and coastal challenges that beset other small island developing states.
“We have shown that through your community based efforts, we can strengthen national resilience and achieve our own sustainable development goals.”
Continued dialogue and awareness was carried out in Kiuva before the launch of the Kiuva Marine Reserve.