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Here are the 3 parts of Fiji One’s ‘Close Up’ show, including an interview with WCS Fiji Director Dr Stacy Jupiter. The footage was shot earlier this month in the remote Daria village, Wainunu, when the communities launched their network of 7 terrestrial, freshwater and marine protected areas. Luckily the sun shone for the filming; a rare treat in the famously rainy Wainunu.
This new protected area network covers 52 km2, with 6km2 in 4 periodically harvested fisheries closures (tabu areas) and the remaining 46km2 in 3 upland protected areas; equivalent to 5% of the Wainunu traditional fisheries management area and 17% of the district lands. The marine protected areas focus on resilient reefs which have the best chance of ensuring future food security in the face of climate change.
The village of Bagata is in Wailevu district of Cakaudrove – the province which occupies the eastern side of Fiji’s second largest island, Vanua Levu. Bagata is only a 30 minute drive from Savusavu town, and is sheltered by mountains and hills. WCS’s Sirilo Dulunaqio (aka Didi) recently had the chance to talk to a man from Bagata who is behind a new initiative that will have many benefits for the people of the village. This is what he reported in our Community Bulletin newsletter this month….
The discussion of setting up a Village Eco Tour started in November 2011 and it materialised in January 2012. The Village Eco Tour helps tourists and understand the whole ecosystem including human beings and their various functions, and the communities get to showcase their traditional way of living and culture. At the moment there are 2 regular customers: Rosie Tours of Nadi and the Namale Resort and Spa – the latter comes in every Thursday to do a Village Eco Tour.
“The women of Bagata find this an opportunity to sell their handicrafts made from all the available resources around them, and this is an alternative livelihood for them”, says Bagata’s Environment Committee Chairman, Mr Vilimone Tulevu.
Beyond the Village Eco Tour there are 3 other sites in development: Magic Waterfall, Rock Pool Bathing and Hot Spring. Also they are proposing to have an Evening Village Tour so tourists get to see what a normal Fijian village evening is like. All money collected from the Village Eco Tour goes directly to a scholarship fund that the children of Bagata will access in 2014.
Mr Tulevu says that Bagata village is having discussions with Telecom Fiji and Vodafone Fiji to set up an Information Centre. “As part of our main objective we are thinking of expanding the Village Eco Tour and tapping into other organisations or government ministries that can help with this project for the benefit of the future generation of Bagata Village”, says Mr Tulevu.
Photo credits: Namale Resort and Spa
The villagers of Wainunu District (Bua Province, Fiji) gathered yesterday at Daria village to watch a special ceremony – the blessing of their new protected area network by chiefs and church leaders. Community leaders also signed their district ridge-to-reef management plan. The protected area network includes 4 marine protected areas and 3 forest protected areas, and covers almost 50 km2. Stacy Jupiter (WCS Fiji’s Director) and Sirilo Dulanaqio (Community Liaison Officer) attended the ceremony on behalf of WCS Fiji.
We feel very privileged to have worked with the dedicated and enthusiastic people of Wainunu over the last 2 years: first we gathered biological and socio-economic data, then we facilitated the identification of the protected areas through a series of community workshops and consultations. We have supported the villages to form a resource management committee which is now responsible for implementing the new ecosystem-based management plan for the district. The actions laid out in this plan are designed to boost the health of the forests, rivers and reefs upon which the people of Wainunu depend and which contribute to the incredible diversity of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape.
You can find more photos of the launch event on our Facebook page at this link, and a description of the event in this Fiji Times article. You download the full Wainunu Ecosystem-based Management Plan from tinyurl.com/WainunuEBMPlan.
This project was kindly supported by grants from the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (US Department of Commerce), and the David and Lucile Packard Foundation.