LäjeRotuma Initiative



From Monifa Fiu (13 March 2013)

Despite the gloomy skies our plan to travel to Naviti in the Yasawa group of islands was not dampened. Fiu, Rupeti and I stayed overnight at Lautoka hotel with Viliame (LRI's point of contact with Tikina Naviti Conservation Initiative-TNCI) for the seas were not in favor for our safe passage. Geraldine a journalist from Fiji Times and a fellow kinsman joined us for the first 2 days, created the feeling that this was indeed a Rotuma group travelling to the Yasawas for the training and survey of Naviti's surrounding reefs. In recognition of the guiding principles for tabu reef area management, the partnership between TNCI and its 3 tourism operators (Botaira, Manta Ray and Barefoot) with LRI aims to inform the planning process of marine resource management framework for Tikina Naviti. The 4-day island program ensured that 11 villagers were trained in basic reef and seagrass survey skills with a better understanding of how their reefs looked like, apart from it being just a fishing ground. Manta Ray Island divers and Reef Safari based on Barefoot Island, provided the boats with four of its dive staff participating in the training and reef survey program. The LRI team has been generously hosted by Botaira and Manta Ray island resorts. A total of 13 reef dive sites were surveyed using 50m line transects, there were 6 seagrass-watch sites around Naviti documenting seagrass diversity and estimation of growth. The survey technique of manta towing the listed 9 sanctioned tabu reef areas (including Manta ray and Botaira's permanent tabu) recorded at least 10 hours of observing large reef areas quickly noting live coral, dead coral and soft coral distribution using standard visual estimation cover.

At the start of our island program, wise words of Vogel and Wainwright, 1969 quote "'structure without function is a corpse, function without structure is a ghost" formed the basis for understanding basic reef ecology, understanding adaptation to lifestyle and habitat of fishes, corals, plants and the many life forms on a reef, seagrass meadow, whilst making connections to what is found on the hilltops, down to the shores. Values of protection and managing island's natural resources well. Our take-home message inspired by the guiding principles of tabu managment was to think about 'to limit your catch, not catching your limit'.

Naviti 1



Naviti 3
Time out on the deck at Manta Ray island resort


to Newspage

to LäjeRotuma Initiative Homepage