A brief history of Kia Island

‘A mother and her two sons, whose father had been killed and their home destroyed in tribal warfare, were searching for a new home. As they stood on the hill on the north coast of Vanua Levu, Fiji, looking out across the sea, their sights fell on a small, uninhabited island. The younger of the two sons pointed and said, “I want to live there (Ki)”. “I want to live…,” and all three members of the party said, “over-there (Ki-a).” And so Kia’s name was born. When the eldest son returned from visiting Kia, he reported back, “Plenty fish, but no water.” The younger of the two sons decided to face the water problems and inhabit the island, starting its community.’ (Osea Masiniqa, Village Elder)

Today, the now much larger community of Kia still face water difficulties, but the bountiful supplies of fish are gone. Fishers have to travel further and catch more fish to provide for their growing community, consequently coral reef ecosystems in the area are becoming negatively impacted on a major scale.  Recently, commercial fish dealers have tapped into Kia’s market, making the economic benefits of overfishing almost unresistable and thereby hugely increasing fishing pressure on the threatened coral reef ecosystem.  Our work with the fantastically welcoming and generous community of Kia aims to counteract this increase by providing fishers with sustainable sources of livelihood and thus reducing fishing pressure and greatly contributing to the sustainable conservation of the coral reef and the endangered species such as humphead wrasse, cetaceans and sea turtles that it supports.

Kian spearfisherman

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