November 6, 2014
JICA's Grace of the Sea Project for Coastal Villages in Vanuatu has once again excelled through Phase 2 and is highlighting the development of Coastal Resource Management in the 3 main pilot sites of the project in Vanuatu. It is a continuation of Phase 1 with more effective approaches developed towards Community Based Coastal Resource Management (CBCRM). Phase 2 of the project was scheduled to end on January 2015 and one of the components of its activities is disseminating useful approaches for CBCRM in a National and Regional Seminar which was successfully implemented on October 2014.
The 4-day National Seminar was first held with participants from 3 different provinces in Vanuatu, Tafea, Malampa and Shefa which are the main provinces that surround the pilot sites of the project. It was organized and facilitated by the JICA Project team and the National Project Coordinators from the Vanuatu Fisheries Department. The first Political Advisor of the Ministry of Agriculture, Livestock, Forestry, Fisheries, and Bio-security, Mrs. Tumakon displayed the support of the Ministry on behalf of the Minister by stating that the project assisted to lay foundation on future coastal resource management activities and thus give time for the resources to build up in number which is evident after implementation of Phase 1 and 2 of the project. Presentations were done on coastal resource management plans and problem analysis of the pilot sites. Participants were able to share experiences of successes and challenges faced following the near completion of phase 2 of the project.
Regional seminar includes participations of neighboring Pacific Island countries who share the same concerns on sustainable coastal resource managements. Fisheries officers from Fiji, Solomon Islands, Tonga, Samoa, Vanuatu as well as representative from the University of the South Pacific (USP) and Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) were joined by local representatives from the pilot sites of the project in Vanuatu for this seminar. All countries admitted that fisheries play an important role in the livelihood of every individual as it is the main source of protein and income. Therefore, measures were taken from each fisheries department on certain ways to ensure conservation, sustainable use and management of fisheries resources.
In Fiji, alternative measures were taken to minimize depletion of coastal resources. The Fiji Department of Fisheries set up seaweed farming, coral farming and the development of Aquaculture sector, deployment of Fishing Aggregate Devices (FADs), law enforcements as well as community management plans. The Solomon Island Fisheries on the other hand prioritized fisheries development on Community Based Resource Management (CBRM) to sustain, manage and protect the coastal marine environment of coastal communities. Existing projects for CBRM include review of current national/provincial laws, awareness outreach program on national legislations, seaweed program, FAD program, Hapi Fish project, turtle conservation program and few others that are devoted to Coastal Resource Management. Samoa also engages in developing Aquaculture and its Community-based Fisheries Management Program (CBFMP) involves full responsibility from village communities while the Samoa Fisheries Division provided technical, financial and legal supports. Similarly, the Tongan fisheries division is also developing its Aquaculture sector as well as supporting coastal communities with monitoring of Special Management Areas (SMAs). The Tongan Fisheries has also installed FADs as means to reduce fishing pressure off coastal reefs and is continuously enforcing its fisheries laws for management, conservation and sustainable utilization of fisheries resources.
The Regional Seminar involves observations of the Vanuatu fisheries projects including Hatchery at the Vanuatu Fisheries Department (VFD), observation of Freshwater Hatchery at Tagabe Area in Port Vila and pilot activities at Magaliliu and Lelepa in North Efate which consists of Giant Clam Ocean Culture, Modified Canoe Operation, Freshwater Prawn Culture and FAD Fishing Management illustrating the activities of VFD through JICA's Grace of the Sea Project.
The two seminars were informative to both the local and regional participants. It was a lesson learned and participants were required to reflect back on what has been done and what areas are yet to be developed with the current available resources. A way forward would be to continuously support Coastal Resource Management with the help of communities, the government and NGO's and to ensure that sustainability prevails at all times.