Marine Protected Areas

Sustainable Marine Protected Area Management

The only NGO working on-site in Macuata.

By 2020, the Fiji Government is committed to establishing an EEZ-wide network of Marine Managed and Protected Areas which represent 30% of the marine environment—an ambitious and important target. C3 is working to contribute to this goal but is also concerned about long-term sustainability of marine protected area management. So many MPAs are merely ‘paper parks’ and no positive impacts are being delivered on the ground in terms of fisheries management, habitat replenishment and conservation and community engagement in monitoring and management.

The coast of Macuata is bordered by Fiji’s incredible 150km-long Great Sea Reef (GSR) which is known to be the third largest consistent barrier reef in the world, a hotspot of marine biodiversity and provides for a significant proportion of Fiji’s fish. It is also renowned as home to the best fishers in the nation. However, as a result, it has over time been exposed to increasing fishing pressures from residents and outsiders of Macuata, as well as agricultural run off and sedimentation from loss of upland and coastal forests.

C3 is the only NGO working on-site with traditional leaders and communities to protect the Great Sea Reef, within the Macuata Qoli Qoli, or traditional fishing grounds. Although big international NGOs have been previously involved in establishment of these tabu areas, they have no physical presence on the ground to ensure sustainable local management. This is the critical role fulfilled by C3, as a permanent technical partner for the communities, with its office strategically placed in Labasa town.

Our award-winning documentary, produced in conjunction with Scripps, shows the challenges facing our communities. Watch it here.

A holistic stewardship model.

C3’s innovative and successful environmental stewardship model focuses on assessing the current functioning of MPAs in a holistic manner (traditional knowledge and tabus, governance, socio-economic and biodiversity assessments, financial sustainability) and then developing community capacity for governance and implementation of management plans.

C3’s programme is the only one to ensure delivery of key community services including diversified income generation, improvements in health (e.g. WASH programme) and education services, is key to ensuring MPAs benefit local populations and reducing unsustainable practices such as fish drives by communities when they are in need of cash.

Sustained, intensive outreach in the communities about fisheries regulations, climate change, species and habitats is a key focal area because only by fully understanding the purpose and objectives of MPAs can the community be fully motivated and mobilised to sustain them.

C3 has been supporting Kia’s MPA for the past 9 years, has helped establish Qaranvai mangrove MPA and currently assists with the management of 8 other Locally Managed Marine Protected Areas across Macuata province.

One of our key successes is reducing dependence of communities solely on fishing as a source of income. Building resilience to climate change is so essential in these communities who are at the forefront of environmental disturbances such as widescale coral bleaching, severe coastal erosion and more frequent and devastating cyclones.

C3 has now established 15 community enterprises across 5 communities and recruited and trained 30 Conservation Ambassadors, who are volunteers in their communities in charge of training and educating others in sustainable development and environmental protection. Furthermore, the immensely popular youth environmental leadership programme, the Reef Rangers, has a cohort of more than 800 members across 20 schools in Macuata province. Reef Rangers educate their own communities about key conservation issues and assist with practical activities such as beach clean-ups, seagrass monitoring, and mangrove reforestation.

C3 assisted with provision of more water storage facilities on Kia Island since islanders are suffering from more prolonged and intense droughts than in previous years. In conjunction, a WASH programme ensured that people were aware about correct water conservation, handling and hygiene to help prevent water-borne diseases. We also work with the Red Cross’ tuberculosis programme to spread awareness about minimizing risk of TB in remote communities throughout Macuata.

MPAs cannot be managed in isolation of terrestrial impacts, especially in small island developing states (SIDS), so C3 Fiji applies a Ridge to Reef approach and works with communities upstream to replant riparian vegetation and native montane forests. We partner with the Ministry of Fisheries, Ministry of Environment, Ministry of Agriculture, Fiji’s Local Marine Management Areas (LMMA) network. Macuata Provincial Council, Wildlife Conservation Society and WWF South Pacific on these programmes.


Contact

C3 Fiji24 Ritova Street, Naodamu, Labasa

C3 Fiji (Community Centred Conservation (Fiji) Limited), in accordance with the Companies Act, is registered as a non-profit organization in Fiji under the Registrar of Companies with Company Registration No. RCBS2014G3314.