Blog

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

(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

(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

(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

(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

(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

(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

(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

(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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

(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?

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?

(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.

READ THE STORY


Safeguarding wildlife in Lomaiviti province

(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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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.

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