Fiji’s coral reefs to be protected by new policy
BY Elenoa Turagaiviu A new policy has been launched to support and provide the legal framework for the conservation and management of Fiji’s coral reefs. Minister for Environment Dr Mahendra Reddy says the policy will enable government and stakeholders to protect the coral reef system which contribute to Fiji’s ecological and economic growth. Fiji’s coral reef system comprises of five reef types distributed over 10,020 square kilometres of marine inshore area and people rely on it for their livelihood, food source and cultural value. Speaking at the launch in Vorovoro Island, Macuata Dr Reddy said the policy will ensure that these coral reef systems are not tampered with. Amongst other things, the policy also lists the various threats to the coral reef systems and how they should be avoided. The main threat identified is development such as coastal reclamation, sand extraction for infrastructural projects, and coral extraction for sale, industrial inflows and pollution from land-based activities. According to Dr Reedy, the ‘ Wetlands Policy on the Conservation and Management of Fiji’s Coral Reefs’ will compliment conservation works already underway.