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WCS Fiji have just returned from launching a comic book titled “The Adventurers of Joji Goby” at 5 different schools in Kubulau and Wainunu, Bua. The comic is about the life-cycle of Joji a freshwater goby, which hatches in freshwater before migrating to sea as larvae and migrating back as post-larvae. Joji met with a lot of obstacles upon his return journey, on his quest to find his parents. The launch included a puppet show of Joji’s adventure followed by the designation of Goby Youth Ambassadors for each village, who will help with the enforcement of rules in ecosystem-based management plans for the two districts. The comic was created using funds from the Disney Friends for Change Program. You can see more photos of the launch and the very special puppets on the WCS Fiji Facebook page, at www.facebook.com/wcsfijiprogram.
Reef managers in Fiji have expanded their understanding of the science behind coral reef resilience, and the benefits a resilient reef can bring, helping with better management strategies for the future of coral reefs. More than 20 people from Fiji’s Locally Managed Marine Area network attended the reef resilience (R2) training organized by WCS Fiji in Suva. The training touched on topics such as climate change impacts on reef ecosystems, coral disease, early warning systems, resilient MPA design, bleaching response plan and effective communication of reef resilience concepts to communities.
The major outcome of R2 training was the development of a local-scale bleaching response plan template for communities. This plan can be adapted for the different communities across Fiji, and takes a simple and pragmatic approach, with the main resources required being community support and keen eyes! It is divided into four components: (1) Coral health and impact assessment – eyes on reef; (2) Early warning systems – communication tools; (3) Management actions – preventative and responsive; and, (4) Socioeconomic implications.
The training was a success as all participants left with an implementation plan for their sites, for example to update communities on reef resilience concepts or to request new protected areas to increase the resilience of the local MPA network. A big vinaka to all participants and facilitators! This project was kindly supported by The Nature Conservancy.
Check out a link from a blog post by WCS Fiji Director Stacy Jupiter on the New England Aquarium’s Global Explorer’s site talking about our recent joint aquarium and WCS visit to Kiobo village in Kubulau to learn about the latest changes to their management plan: http://explorers.neaq.org/2012/03/fiji-coming-home-to-kiobo.html
Efforts to develop management strategies that can mitigate the impacts of global environmental and climate change are urgently needed but examples of their application to date are rare. WCS Fiji is leading efforts to developing indicators of coral reef resilience to climate impacts which can be used to prioritise locations for management. We have collected data on reef fish assemblages, coral population structure, coral recruitment, benthic cover and complexity from coral reef habitats within managed (Kubulau District) and unmanaged fishing grounds (Solevu, Nadi, Wainunu, Wailevu districts). We are combining these data with reef habitat classifications and predictions of reef fish assemblage characteristics to identify sites with naturally high resilience and those that can be improved by management. WCS Fiji will then consult with stakeholders in Kubulau District to discuss options for adapting their existing marine protected area (MPA) to improve reef resilience. We will also work with the communities from Bua and Cakaudrove provinces to design new resilient MPA networks.