To increase capacity of the Fijian government and the communities of Votua, Ba and Maui Bay Coast to develop appropriate climate change adaptation strategies and to make informed decisions related to coastal and marine resource management based on scientific evidence captured through innovative mapping technology.
Tropical island environments in the Pacific, like Fiji, are suffering significant degradation in water quality, biodiversity, and various other critical parameters. One of the most significant needs is to develop accurate, high-resolution base maps of coastal and shallow-water aquatic resources, including coral and sea grass ecosystems that have significant economic value in terms of fisheries, aquaculture, and tourism, among others. These maps are needed as a baseline against which to measure future changes, and to develop place-based resource management plans.
With a grant from the Pacific-American Climate Fund (PACAM), the University of Fiji aims to conduct the mapping and monitoring of two coastal ecosystems: at Votua Area, where coral reefs have experienced reduced growth rates, higher mortality due to bleaching, and increased damage by severe weather; and at Maui Bay, which has healthier fringing reefs attributed to conservation practices. The resulting maps will illustrate relationships between local resources and human activities; show ways in which resources may be affected by climate stressors; and serve as a reference by which change may be measured.
This will help in the development of strategies for resource use, biodiversity conservation, climate change adaptation, disaster risk management, food security, and development in Votua Ba and Votua Maui Bay.
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