project review

Fiji Science Update

Review submitted by Fiji Marine
Review date 4 Jul 2018

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Another successful phase for the science with all Baseline Survey Protocol (BSP) sites achieved within the allocated time. It has been hard work though for all involved with extensive training in algae, invertebrate, fish and coral identification. All Research Assistant’s successfully completed a BSP and showed a high level of enthusiasm. This was helped along by additional dives in the spectacular soft coral and fish sites of Antheas Avenue and Jims Alley as well as night dives and preliminary studies of a clam site on the Nawaikama point.

The monitoring program was extended this phase to include shark surveys in the Nigali passage, a break in the barrier reef south of Naviavia. This is the locality for one of our more adventurous fun dives involving a drift through the shark infested channel followed by a 20 minute observation at the viewing bench. Whilst the Research Assistant’s marvel at the natural beauty of the site the staff vigilantly record the number of grey reef sharks including juveniles, the numbers, size and species of white tip reef sharks and shoals of predatory fish such as barracuda and mackerel. This project was instigated after concerns over the decrease in predatory fish and its importance as a grey reef shark breeding ground with the aim of pushing towards its designation as a Marine Protection Area.

The Research Assistant’s became a lot more active in socio-economic studies this phase which has proved highly beneficial to the science aspect of the project. Information gathered includes waste disposal, farming and fishing activities as well as improving the education program for the pre-school. Many of the BTEC projects focused around some of these local activities with Research Assistant’s participating in farming, community work, teaching and joining the local women with fishing in the local bays. This information can now be use in the extensive studies of each of the villages to assess both their land and sea based activities and impacts on the reef.

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