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Improving water quality and human health through catchment management training

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Improving water quality and human health through catchment management training
(August 12, 2021) On a sunny Tuesday morning in April 2021, the districts of Namosi, Wainikoroiluva, Veinuqa, and Naqarawai in the interior of Namosi gathered for catchment management training. They met at the newly commissioned Namosi Government Station in Dada, for 2 days of information sharing and deliberation, to identify actions to better manage their catchment to protect their natural water sources.The training, funded by the Watershed Interventions for Systems and Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) project, throug...

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Redefining “Impact” and “Success” in Science to Dismantle a Discriminatory Reward System

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Redefining “Impact” and “Success” in Science to Dismantle a Discriminatory Reward System
(August 06, 2021) A 2020 study highlighted that the citation gap between genders was skewed a full 30 percent in favour of male scientists across thirteen STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics, Medicine) disciplines. Other studies have highlighted sex-specific conscious and unconscious biases that lead to a higher rate of manuscript rejections and lower rate of publication in prestigious journals for women.  Discussions of a broken value system are prevalent across different fields of science...

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Landuse training to improve watershed and community health in the Bureta subcatchment

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Landuse training to improve watershed and community health in the Bureta subcatchment
(June 09, 2021) In April 2021, a multi-sectoral training on agriculture, forest conservation, water management and hygiene was conducted for villagers from Lovoni, Vuniivisavu and Nasaumatua villages on Ovalau Island. The training was carried out as part of the Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) project. The training addressed knowledge and skills gaps identified by communities and partners during the development of Water and Sanitation Safety Plans in October 2020 for the Bureta sub...

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Study provides new insights into village water committees in Fiji

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Study provides new insights into village water committees in Fiji
(May 10, 2021) A study was conducted to understand the structure, processes, and actions of water committees in Indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) villages as part of the Watershed Interventions in Systems Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) project. Village water committees are important as they address and manage issues in their local communities. They have local knowledge which can help set standards of what is acceptable behaviour and enforce rules about water. Publishing their results in the International Journal of Wat...

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New water infrastructure benefits Bureta communities

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(March 21, 2021) For almost two decades, the villagers of Naviteitei, Nasaga and Tai in Bureta District situated on Ovalau Island in the province of Lomaiviti, faced difficulties in accessing sufficient and an unpolluted supply of water from the dam to their homes. The problem as told by many, was the continuous clogging of the dam by sediments and debris, mainly soil and gravel that piled up in the dam and prevented flow of water.  However, after the construction of the new dam that included a sedimentatio...

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Water safety and sanitation plans to enhance drinking water quality and reduce health risks for rural communities

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Water safety and sanitation plans to enhance drinking water quality and reduce health risks for rural communities
(September 17, 2020) While grappling with the global coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Fiji’s Ministry of Health and Medical Services is continuing to monitor and respond to outbreaks in water-related diseases, particularly typhoid, leptospirosis and dengue fever (LTD). In the aftermath of Tropical Cyclone Harold that passed through Fiji in April 2020, the Ministry announced an outbreak in the LTD cases in cyclone affected areas. On 19 August 2020, the Minister for Health and Medical Services, Dr. Iferemi Waqai...

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Forest wardens no longer to walk 16 km a day for patrol

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Forest wardens no longer to walk 16 km a day for patrol
(August 10, 2020) In 2017, Joeli Matai and Jona Cati graduated as forest wardens from the Colo-i-Suva Forestry Training Center. The two have since then, committed to protecting the Kilaka Forest Conservation Area, near their village in the District of Kubulau in Bua Province, Vanua Levu. For the past three years, twice a month, Joeli, 52 and Jona, 36, walked approximately 16 kilometers to patrol the 402 ha Kilaka Forest Conservation Area to ensure it was safeguarded against threats such as illegal logging, gravel...

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The Planetary Health Alliance launches Planetary Health Case Studies: An Anthology of Solutions

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The Planetary Health Alliance launches Planetary Health Case Studies: An Anthology of Solutions
(July 29, 2020) A Press Release by Planetary Health AllianceThe Planetary Health Alliance (PHA) first issued a call for planetary health case studies to strengthen and expand the field of planetary health in November 2017. After receiving submissions and proposals from organizations and institutions around the world, ten diverse cases were chosen to create a cohesive anthology of examples ranging in thematic area, approach, ecosystem characteristics, and geographic region. Beginning in July 2018, free...

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WCS bids farewell to conservation leader, Josaia Moceinasavu

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WCS bids farewell to conservation leader, Josaia Moceinasavu
(May 25, 2020) This blog is written by WCS's Community Engagement Officer, Sirilo Dulunaqio in memory of Bu Jo. "You see me now as a conservation champion but you should have seen me back in days when I was the go-to man for resource use," Josaia Moceinasavu told me once as he laughed heartily. A man of great humour, he also shared about the time he sold sand secretly to a developer but then his elders surprised him by choosing him to join the resource conservation team in the village. Whe...

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Profile Feature - Akanisi Caginitoba and her life as a Community Engagement Coordinator

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Profile Feature - Akanisi Caginitoba and her life as a Community Engagement Coordinator
(April 20, 2020) Akanisi (known to many as Cagi) was born in Vanuatu. At the age of 13, she came to Fiji with her family and since then lived a life of a Fiji urbanite. Akanisi’s passion for working with Fijian communities developed when she first went to a village in 2002, as a community engagement officer. She noticed how the villagers lived a worriless life away from the urban rush and race for time and money. Wildlife Conservation Society, Community Engagement Coordinator, Akanisi Caginitoba ©WCS ...

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Gender integration into the implementation of the Vanuatu National Road map for Coastal Fisheries

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Gender integration into the implementation of the Vanuatu National Road map for Coastal Fisheries
(February 26, 2020) With two thirds of the population living within one kilometer of the coast, coastal fisheries are a critical resource for food security, nutrition, livelihoods and cultural practice or kastom in Vanuatu. Last year, the Vanuatu Department of Fisheries launched the “Vanuatu National Roadmap for Coastal Fisheries: 2019‒2030”. Vanuatu’s roadmap is comprehensive, aligning with the Melanesia Spearhead Group’s roadmap for inshore fisheries, as well as other regional (e.g. New So...

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Increase in numbers of ground-nesting seabirds on Vatu-i-Ra Island

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Increase in numbers of ground-nesting seabirds on Vatu-i-Ra Island
(January 10, 2020) The content of the blog has been adapted from the contributions of the staff of BirdLife International : Meli Naiqama, Semaema Vakaciriwaqa and Francis Saladrau.Many writers have described Vatu-i-Ra as a rather lonely, uninhabited, rocky little island, lying in the middle of nowhere within the Vatu-i-Ra passage, between Viti Levu and Vanua Levu. But the island belonging to the Nagilogilo Clan of Nasau Village, Navitilevu, Ra has been identified as an important bird and biodiversity area for...

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Koro Chiefs commit to island-scale EBM

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Koro Chiefs commit to island-scale EBM
(December 05, 2019) This month, with support from the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), the Lomaiviti Provincial Office and key Government Ministries the 14 chiefs of the 14 villages of Koro Island launched the ecosystem-based management plan (EBM). This is a first island scale EBM plan for Fiji which is an integrated approach into managing the island’s resources sustainably.Launch of the island-scale ecosystems-based management plan on Koro Island. © WCSIn endorsing the five-year plan, the ...

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National-scale marine bioregions for the Southwest Pacific

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National-scale marine bioregions for the Southwest Pacific
(November 25, 2019) Pacific nations are determined to fulfill their international commitments to conserve the ocean around them, despite the lack of data on bioregions within their countries to support their efforts. However, the current marine bioregions that cover the Pacific Ocean are at spatial scales that are too broad to support national marine spatial planning. The southwest Pacific bioregionalisation will enable the design of ecologically representative national systems of marine protected or managed a...

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How coral reefs benefit from healthy watersheds

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How coral reefs benefit from healthy watersheds
(October 24, 2019) As part of the Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji (WISH Fiji) project, the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and our partners are trying to identify how activities on the land may be impacting downstream coral reefs. This is a bit like detective work to try to uncover convincing evidence to link human activities to reef condition. What you see on a coral reef at any given time represents an integrated history of all environmental conditions to which the reef has been exposed, b...

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Surveying coral reefs in Ovalau Island to measure impacts of watershed management

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Surveying coral reefs in Ovalau Island to measure impacts of watershed management
(October 20, 2019) While the rest of the country celebrated Fiji Day, a team of dedicated Fijian scientists continued their surveys of coral reefs around Ovalau Island. It felt apt to be there, close to Fiji’s old capital Levuka which became a World Heritage Site in June, 2013. Each day we SCUBA dive to collect baseline data on coral cover, coral disease, and reef fish communities to help us document and better understand how land use practices are impacting downstream coral reef habitats. Heavy rainfall ear...

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Watershed management and coral reefs

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Watershed management and coral reefs
(October 13, 2019) Healthy watersheds are fundamental to human health and wellbeing whether you live inland or along the coast. Ridge-to-reef management is not new and organisations like the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) have been supporting communities take a holistic and integrated approach to managing their resources for more than a decade.Catchment management is an important issue in Fiji as land use practices such as forest clearing and agriculture are increasingly impacting watersheds, causing rivers t...

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WCS Melanesia Director, named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow

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WCS Melanesia Director, named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow
(September 27, 2019) The Wildlife Conservation Society’s (WCS) Melanesia Director, Dr. Stacy Jupiter was named a 2019 MacArthur Fellow 2019, a recipient of a Genius Grant, today. The prestigious award is a recognition of Dr. Jupiter’s work as a marine scientist and conservationist and the innovative ways she has “integrated local cultural practices with field research to develop conservation solutions that protect both the biodiversity of coastal ecosystems and the well-being of communities that d...

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Agriculture mapping for clean and safe water

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Agriculture mapping for clean and safe water
(September 26, 2019) Healthy watersheds are critical for ecosystem and human health, but are threatened by a range of unsustainable or damaging land practices. These practices include the overuse of fertilizers and pesticides associated with farming, as well as poor animal husbandry. For example, the discharge of animal waste contaminates into waterbodies that communities are reliant on for drinking water can increase the incidence of waterborne diseases such as leptospirosis. The run-off of nutrients into catchmen...

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District works towards developing a revised ecosystem-based management plan

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(September 20, 2019) The growing demand for natural resources and increasing impacts of climate change are threatening ecosystems worldwide. To protect the environment from these threats, an integrated approach is required. Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated approach to manage and maintain healthy, productive and resilient ecosystems and the communities that are dependent on.  It addresses interactions between humans and the environment. The development of an EBM plan takes considerable effort a...

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Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji

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Watershed Interventions for Systems Health in Fiji
(September 12, 2019) Healthy watersheds are fundamental to human health and well-being.In Fiji, rural communities are largely dependent on nearby water sources for consumption and other household activities. However, increasing development and poor land-management practices around watersheds can contribute to declines in water quality. Land-based impacts are particularly problematic in areas where logging is prevalent and unmanaged, and where village and urban waste management systems are rudimentary. Sediments and ...

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Celebrating the life of Steven McLaren Lee

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(September 10, 2019) Anyone who had the deep privilege of meeting, working, diving or fishing with Steven McLaren Lee could not help but feel hopeful about the future. Steven brought so much life and energy to everything he did. He was fearless, willing to try anything, giving a hundred percent to any task he set himself. I first met Steven when he turned up on the doorstep of the Wildlife Conservation Society to discuss ideas for his Master of Science degree. Steven wanted to find a topic that would have real impac...

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Supporting community-managed pearl oyster farms in Savusavu Bay

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Supporting community-managed pearl oyster farms in Savusavu Bay
(September 05, 2019) J. Hunter Pearls Fiji has been producing high quality pearls with ‘distinctive hues’ since early 2000, and made Fiji pearls a sought after brand. The owner, Justin Hunter works closely with local communities in Vanua Levu, providing jobs for local communities. Pearl oysters are filter feeders, requiring clear pristine waters to grow and thrive. They can filter about 1400 litres of water a day capturing plankton (small microscopic animals in the water column) and other small particles...

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MERMAID- A new tool to protect coral reefs

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MERMAID- A new tool to protect coral reefs
(July 23, 2019) The challenge to protect our coral reefs from the impacts of overfishing, land-based human activities and climate change continues. In Fiji, coastal populations are heavily reliant on marine resources for food, and livelihoods, and contribute to the nation’s growing economy. Climate change is contributing to the deterioration of coral reef health, globally. According to a study revealed by United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)  on the impacts o...

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Fisheries management tools to safeguard fisheries resources for Ovalau Island

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Fisheries management tools to safeguard fisheries resources for Ovalau Island
(July 04, 2019) The village headman of Nauono on the island of Ovalau, locally known as Ipa, believes he and the residents of his village are responsible for creating sustainable fisheries resources for their children’s future.During a fisheries management training in May 2019 on Ovalau, Ipa conveyed this strong sentiment as he spoke to village representatives and the team from Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) about the importance of the sea.Through collaborative implementation of fisheries management ...

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Community launches management plan to protect mud crab fishery

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Community launches management plan to protect mud crab fishery
(June 15, 2019) In Fiji, the mud crab (Scylla serrata) or qari is always in high market demand and sells at lucrative prices. Women fishers play a dominant role in the mud crab fishery in Fiji. They use traditional knowledge and techniques to catch mud crabs from within the mangroves, often with their bare hands. Unfortunately, the growing demand for mud crabs is resulting in an increase in the number of small size crabs being sold at the local markets, often through unsustainable practices. Continuous over ha...

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Fisheries outcomes maximized through traditional practice

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Fisheries outcomes maximized through traditional practice
(June 14, 2019) A new study published in the Journal of Applied Ecology has found a possible solution to one of the biggest conservation and livelihood challenges in the marine realm. The study’s authors—researchers from the California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo (Cal Poly), WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society), Swansea University, the University of Rhode Island (URI) and other groups—have found that fishing grounds with areas that are closed to fisheries but are periodically h...

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Gender and social inclusion in fisheries management

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Gender and social inclusion in fisheries management
(June 08, 2019) Most of the Pacific’s population is coastal, and therefore our people are highly reliant on inshore fisheries for their food and livelihood needs. What most people don’t realise or appreciate is that women make up a large percentage of those involved in formal and informal fisheries sector. In many cases, women are the primary protein and/or income supporter for their families. Despite this, women are often excluded from governance and decision-making, and are not afforded the same ...

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Socioeconomic and ecological surveys to support land-sea management of Ovalau Island, Fiji

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Socioeconomic and ecological surveys to support land-sea management of Ovalau Island, Fiji
(June 07, 2019) Fijians have strong roots and connections with the Pacific Ocean that surrounds them. They are highly dependent on the bounty of the ocean for their livelihoods and daily food, especially those communities residing in the rural coastal areas. For generations, Fijian communities have also helped make fish and other seafood available and accessible to consumers in urban areas, who frequent markets around the country. However, the challenge is how to continue supplying seafood sustainably without d...

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Land owning unit secures lease agreement for the protection of its forest

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Land owning unit secures lease agreement for the protection of its forest
(July 09, 2017) All the hard work and determination of mataqali Nadicake, landowning unit within the village of Kilaka in Kubulau District, Bua Province, paid off after the iTaukei Land Trust Board signed a lease agreement with the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) for 99 years to safeguard and ensure the long-term protection of Kilaka forest. This will be the first forest conservation area that will be managed by the community in partnership with WCS, and is a great example of community e...

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Encouraging mud crab fishers in Bua to sell quality crabs

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Encouraging mud crab fishers in Bua to sell quality crabs
(July 09, 2017) For most women mud crab fishers within the districts of Kubulau, Bua, Navakasiga and Lekutu in Bua Province, mud crab collection is part of their everyday lives and a great source of food and livelihoods. Despite the growing demand for mud crabs in the local market, mud crab fishers in these communities need to sell the right size and high-quality mud crabs in order earn a reasonable income. A value chain analysis of the mud crab fishery by the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) found that thou...

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Villagers take action to sustainably harvest sea cucumbers to meet their livelihoods

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Villagers take action to sustainably harvest sea cucumbers to meet their livelihoods
(July 06, 2017) For most islands and coastal villages in Fiji, sea cucumbers or sasalu is considered a treasured resource that many have relied on for income for many years. It is a commodity that has been traded by Fijians since the early 1800s and continues today with many communities still heavily relying on it for their livelihoods. High demand from the Asian market has led to it becoming a multi-million dollar industry globally. As a result, more and more communities have been collecting sea...

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Study Finds Fiji’s Fishing Communities Struggling In Wake of Cyclone Winston

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Study Finds Fiji’s Fishing Communities Struggling In Wake of Cyclone Winston
(October 02, 2016) Survey highlights food security concerns stemming from loss of fishing infrastructure Recommendations include replacement of low-impact fishing gear and government support to coastal villages   Fishing-dependent communities in Fiji experienced decreased food security and loss of livelihoods in the wake of Cyclone Winston, according to a post-disaster survey conducted by the WCS (Wildlife Conservation Society). In addition to severely impacting the lives of 40 percent of Fiji’s ...

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After Winston: Assessing Coral Reefs for Cyclone Damage and Coral Bleaching

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After Winston: Assessing Coral Reefs for Cyclone Damage and Coral Bleaching
(May 16, 2016) This is the first in a series of blogs by WCS-Fiji Director Sangeeta Mangubhai assessing the damage to coral reefs caused by Cyclone Winston, a Category 5 storm that hit Fiji on February 20. Click here for more

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WCS-Fiji assists displaced communities following Cyclone Winston

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WCS-Fiji assists displaced communities following Cyclone Winston
(March 01, 2016) A team from the Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji country program has taken food, water, clothes and other essential items to assist the Ra Provincial Council to address the need of the communities that were badly affected following Tropical Cyclone Winston last week. The Cyclone caused havoc in the province of Ra, Lomaiviti and Bua with thousands of people in these islands and villages being completely displaced from their homes. 

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Kilaka Forest Conservation Area

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Kilaka Forest Conservation Area
(February 25, 2016) WCS has worked with the communities of Kubulau District, Bua Province, for over 10 years and has developed a strong working relationship with the Nadicake mataqali (clan) from Kilaka village that holds land tenure over the Kilaka forest.In 2006, the clan made a commitment to protect the forest on the land parcel over which they hold tenure for at least 10 years. Although not legally binding, this commitment included a promise not to lease the land for logging.

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Safeguarding wildlife in Lomaiviti province

Views: 7880
(February 25, 2016) A traditional fisherman, Rusiate Valenitabua instinctively knows the spawning seasons of different marine animals, fishing techniques unique to his village as well as the role that mangroves play in sheltering communities. From the coastal village of Nukui in Rewa, Rusiate Valenitabua now lives in Lomaiviti as the newly appointed provincial conservation officer.  

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Mud crabs – what are they really worth?

Views: 8034
Mud crabs – what are they really worth?
(February 25, 2016) Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Department of Fisheries staff are partnering up a second time this year to look at seafood supply chains in Fiji. Learning from our experience with the sea cucumbers, we are conducting a series of surveys to understand and map out the mud crab fishery in Bua Province all the way from the fisher to consumer.

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Mud crabs – what are they really worth?

Views: 2850
(February 25, 2016) Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) and Department of Fisheries staff are partnering up a second time this year to look at seafood supply chains in Fiji. Learning from our experience with the sea cucumbers, we are conducting a series of surveys to understand and map out the mud crab fishery in Bua Province all the way from the fisher to consumer.

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Safeguarding wildlife in Lomaiviti province

Views: 2279
(February 25, 2016) A traditional fisherman, Rusiate Valenitabua instinctively knows the spawning seasons of different marine animals, fishing techniques unique to his village as well as the role that mangroves play in sheltering communities. From the coastal village of Nukui in Rewa, Rusiate Valenitabua now lives in Lomaiviti as the newly appointed provincial conservation officer.

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