project news

Going local in Fiji

News item submitted by Frontier
News item dated 27 Feb 2009

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A vital part of Frontier’s conservation work is engaging with local communities and working with them towards sustainable resource use. On Gau Island, Fiji, our research team has started a series of workshops in local villages to raise environmental awareness and receive important feedback from the community. The workshops complement the visions of a local Island Council of elders and community members who wish to encourage the people of Gau to become more deeply involved in the conservation of their resources.

The first workshop was a huge success with an informal atmosphere that enabled Frontier to gain the trust of the villagers and give room for a free discussion of issues such as farming and fishing. Through visual aids, and with the assistance of a local translator, Principal Investigator Emma Wells explained Frontier’s work and the important link between reef health, fish stocks and land use.

The workshop revealed real challenges to uphold the marine no-take zones established by the local council but enthusiasm for mangrove replanting schemes. Furthermore deep concern of coastal erosion was shown from some of the attending villagers suggesting support for future environmental initiatives.

Frontier will now accompany and support a locally run youth group working on mangrove replanting and work closer with the Island Council to improve the marine management. Future Frontier workshops will continue to raise environmental awareness and communicate with the locals to understand their use of resources and concerns for the future. The workshops will, without a doubt, generate new environmental initiatives that can be carried out not just by Frontier but in collaboration with the local community.

Read more about conserving marine life in Fiji