Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN strengthen monitoring and surveillance at Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park

Wildlife Conservation Society and IUCN strengthen monitoring and surveillance at Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park

Coastal communities in Nakorotubu District, Ra Province, now have ten game wardens and a patrol boat to help monitor and safeguard Fiji’s largest conservation park, created in partnership between local communities and tourist operators.

Protected within the Conservation Park, Vatu Island is home to a multitude of breeding seabirds and its surrounding waters are home to a rich biodiversity of marine life, including one of the world’s most thriving reef systems recognized for diving.

Implement the management plan which prohibits fishing in no-take zones or restricts certain activities such as access to the island without the consent of the community of landowners, the Wildlife Conservation Society, the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) and Vatu-i- Ra Conservation Park Board supported the training of fishery wardens and handed over a patrol boat to the management committee which will coordinate and will implement monitoring and surveillance of the conservation park.

Wildlife Conservation Society Fiji national director Paul van Nimwegen said enhanced monitoring efforts will help the community monitor the management rules outlined in the plan.

He says the game wardens, equipped with a patrol boat, will help protect customary fishing grounds that communities depend on for food security and income generated from tourism operations.

Chairman of the Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Management Committee, Emori Latibau, said having game wardens patrolling the conservation park would also have a deterrent effect on poachers.

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