Local Fishermen Trained on new Fishing Techniques

IMAG2772Mr Keizo, a specialist in fishing techniques and post-harvest processing, is currently providing training to fishers in Funafuti. Mr Keizo is from the Japan Overseas Fishery Cooperation Foundation (OFCF). Together with two Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) officers, he is conducting training for local fishermen on new methods of fishing by trolling. During the training, he has also been conducting lessons on fish smoking.

The training was run for 3 days between 29th of November to the 1st of December this year at the TFD workshop at Teone. The trainers and local fishermen who attended the workshop went on a practical fishing trip (went trolling) on the RV Manaui to try out the new techniques.

IMAG2577The fishing technique and smoked fish training is part of the ‘capacity development’ activities of the TFD work plan for 2017. The workshop is an outcome of an agreement between the TFD and OFCF; with OFCF sponsoring and organising the training.

The fishing technique training was carried out to relieve pressure on overfished coastal fisheries stocks in Funafuti. Creel surveys carried out by the Coastal Section since 2015 have clearly shown that the reef fisheries are heavily overfished and there is a need to utilise more of the pelagic and oceanic species. A move to greater use of oceanic fishes is also part of the new Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan (FRFSP) which will be opened in Funafuti on 14th December.

The smoked fish training was a need identified during past consultations with outer island fishers and communities. Smoking fish can be used to preserve a wide range of fish products without the need for refrigeration to be used during periods when bad weather prevents fishing. Local fishermen on Funafuti showed their interest in the training and raised some of the issues they face in Funafuti as well as outer islands. One of the requests made was for TFD to provide fishing gear for local fishers.

It won’t only be local fishermen on Funafuti who benefit from the training. Additional training sessions are planned for outer islands in the future.

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Metro 7 trip is complete: Another milestone for 2017

The coastal section of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department has successfully completed the final metronome trip for 2017 to the northern islands of Niutao, Nanumea and Nanumaga. This completes an important activity under the TFD Annual work plan 2017. The metronome trips, carried out 4 times per year, are an important and on-going part of our outreach to the outer islands. During the trips we work together with the island Kaupules to identify and address fisheries issues. The primary aim of the latest mission was to consult with people, carry out discussions and present status reports on the progress of our work on each island.

The trip was carried out by five officers from the Coastal Section and an officer from the Administration Section for media purposes. The trip was run between the dates of 24th September to the 15th of October 2017. The main activities completed were:

The three visited northern islands contributed perspectives on their issues relating to fisheries, and made recommendations for managing and re-building their coastal reef fisheries productivity. They also requested copies of reports on the previous surveys made on their islands.

Next year, the Metronome trips will begin again in March.

2018 Metronome trips:
Metro 8 Central (Talamoana) Nui, Nukufetau, Vaitupu 1/3/18 30/3/18
Metro 9 South (Talamoana) Nukulaelae, Niulakita 15/5/18 31/5/18
Metro 10 North (Talamoana) Nanumea, Nanumaga, Niutao 1/8/18 30/8/18
Metro 11 Central (Talamoana) Nui, Nukufetau, Vaitupu 22/9/18 21/10/18

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The First Coastal Fisheries Meeting : RTMCF Regional Technical Meeting on Coastal Fisheries

This month seven Coastal Fisheries officers of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department will attend the First Regional Technical Meeting on Coastal Fisheries (RTMCF) in Noumea, New Caledonia. The meeting will start on the 28th of November and run for a period of five days. The primary aim of the RTMCF is to improve coastal fisheries management and development around the region and give coastal fisheries officers a chance to share information and lessons learned with their colleagues from other Pacific countries.

The Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC) will host the RTMCF meeting at its headquarters. The meeting was proposed by Tuvalu at the SPC Heads of Fisheries Meeting in March this year to provide a forum for discussion of some of the most important coastal fisheries-related concerns. This year the meeting will focus on data collection and eMonitoring, but it is hoped that the meeting becomes an annual event and that in future meetings a wide range of topics can be discussed. Importantly, this gives the coastal fisheries staff a chance to interact on a technical level, find out more about programmes in other countries and gain experience in broader aspects of fisheries, including regional and international agreements. Because this is will provide such an important learning experience for all who attend, both senior and junior officers will attend.

The participation of the 7 Coastal Fisheries Officers will help grow their capability and ability to deliver programmed outcomes under the TFD Annual Work Plan. It will also allow them to become part of what we hope will be an annual exchange within the region, helping to build up coastal fisheries capability for all countries.

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Tuvalu Fisheries Department: 3 Vacant Posts (due 5/12/17)

The Tuvalu Fisheries Department of the Government of Tuvalu is inviting suitably qualified Tuvalu citizens to fill three vacant positions within the Fisheries Department.

  1. Fisheries legal officer
  2. Senior Fisheries Officer – Coastal Fisheries Management
  3. Support Assistant – Oceanic Fisheries

Please click on the above vacant post texts to get full details on job descriptions and important notices, or contact the Public Service Commission office via Telephone number 688 20110 during working hours only.

All interested applicants should address their applications to the Secretary office of the Prime Minister.

All application letters or cover letter are to be submitted together with a Form P2, a curriculum vitae, certified transcripts of qualifications, certificate and transcript of recognised institutions to the office of the Public Service Commission no later than 4pm on Tuesday the 5th of December 2017.

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FRFSP: Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan to be launched in December

FRFSP Front Cover L 141117The Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan (FRFSP) has been under development most of this year. The plan was formulated through extensive consultations with communities, leaders, the Funafuti Island Council and interest groups and is now ready to be launched on 14th December at Tausoa Lima in Funafuti. The plan is a culmination of several years work: 2015-2016 establishing creel, ciguatera, boat and other surveys to inform the design; 2017 during which the bulk of the consultations occurred and implementation will begin in 2018. It is expected the FRFSP will reverse the current decline in Reef Fisheries, recover stressed stocks and habitats and lead to better prosperity for fishers and the community as a whole.

The FRFSP is not simply a fisheries management plan focused on ensuring sustainable use of fished resources, but embodies a whole-atoll approach which recognises the role of people and healthy ecosystems in fisheries and adaptively responds to change. Focusing on smart use of the already established Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA), avoiding the introduction of too many complex rules and seeking to preserve and enhance livelihoods and food and nutrition security for Tuvaluans living in Funafuti, the FRFSP has been designed to ensure reef fisheries recover to more productive levels. The most difficult aspect of the plan to understand is that a reduction in fishing pressure will within a short time (a few years) lead to greater productivity with less future fishing effort.

As part of its work, the Coastal Fisheries Section of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department has been carrying out resource assessments and monitoring to provide the information needed for management. Creel surveys (of fisher’s landed catches) provide information on the fishers, the resources being caught and the effort required in a way that can be used to assess the health of the fishery. As part of the creel survey, data on fish lengths were compared with known values of size at maturity for 22 species to provide an indicator to assess whether the resources were overfished. Fishes were considered overfished if 50% or more of the animals landed were smaller than the size at maturity. The results of the first Creel Report in September 2016 showed that coastal fisheries in Funafuti are overfished. Of the species that were assessed 60% of species had 50% or more of the catch below the size at maturity. This means that the fishes are being caught and removed from the population before they could reproduce. The main fishes showing strong signs of overfishing in Funafuti included acanthurids (pone), carangids (ulua, kamai), serranids (gatala), lethrinids (noto) and lutjanids (taea).

Without management of the fisheries and the ecosystems that support them, Funafuti will become increasingly barren and fish stocks will decline further, driving people to more imported foods, loss of food sovereignty (control of the food supply) and greater problems with non-communicable diseases. A plan for better stewardship could put a stop to this decline and set a path to healthier and more productive fisheries. In response to this clear need to address overfishing in Funafuti’s reef fisheries, the Fisheries Department began consulting with fishers, leaders and the community to develop a management plan capable of reversing the declines and restoring the fisheries to a more productive state.

lutjanus-gibbus-1This stewardship plan arose out of those consultations and provides the structure to enable people to understand and monitor threats to the resources and identify solutions. This sets up a framework to enable all groups to work together to ensure that Funafuti’s reef fisheries become healthy and productive, that the human population can thrive, and the atoll is a beautiful and safe place to live.

The Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan (FRFSP) aims to reverse these problems and increase the supply of fished resources through protecting breeding populations of fishes and reversing at least some of the ecosystem damage. It also seeks to involve all stakeholders in a meaningful way and will work on adaptive management principles allowing for adjustments to the plan based on evidence from careful monitoring of the state of the resources as actions are put in place. The main strategies are:

  1. Strengthening the Funafuti Conservations Area so that its potential benefits become a reality protecting spawning adults, allowing juveniles to grow and promoting spill over of fishes into other parts of the lagoon, increasing resilience of the fisheries;
  2. Limiting the size of fishes that can be taken by fishing to ensure that every fish can breed at least once in all other parts of the atoll;
  3. Targeting pelagic and offshore fisheries more to reduce some of the pressure on reef fishes; and
  4. Improving information, involvement by the community and state of the ecosystems on which the fisheries depend.

The FRFSP will primarily involve the Tuvalu Fisheries Department, the Funafuti Kaupule and the Fishermen of Funafuti (including those from outer islands living here). Implementation of the plan will use funds from government and a range of other source. It is envisaged that similar though more simplified plans will be developed for the outer islands in the future.

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Latest Department Metronome Trip : A milestone in the annual work plan

TFD workshop at Nukulaelae island

Seven Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) officers carried out one of the regular outer islands ‘Metronome’ trips during August. This trip was to the southern islands (Nukulaelae & Niulakita), to liaise with the Kaupule (island council) members and the communities and to carry out fisheries work programme activities. The team was away for one week, from 20-27 August 2017. The officers involved included 4 Coastal staff, 2 Oceanic staff and 1 from the Administration Section of the Department. The team spent 2-3 days on each island.

The Coastal team conducted refresher training on creel surveys with the Outer Island Data Collectors (OIDCs), as well as augmenting the data collected, and creating an additional dataset for comparison with the OIDC data. Information was also collected on Ciguatera Fish Poisoning cases, information needed for developing fisheries island profiles. Consultations with the Kaupule and the community centred on monitoring and management of coastal reef resources. This is the sixth Metronome trip since this type of monitoring was begun in 2016 and is part of an ongoing commitment by the coastal section as part of its annual work plans.

During the trip, 2 officers from the Oceanic Section conducted a workshop on vessel sightings. This is an issue often raised by the communities in the remote islands of Tuvalu, with people expressing concern that fishing vessels seem to be resulting in the loss of their marine resources. The community people of the visited islands pointed out that “the Tuvalu fisheries department should take cautious of fishing vessels within the Tuvalu EEZ, these fishing vessels are responsible for the decline of marine resources within our islands”.The southern islands community and Kaupule asked many questions, and views and issues regarding the management of coastal reef resources as well as on vessel sightings were discussed. There was also an addition of documents to the Fisheries library and archive collected from Nukulaelae Island. The visited islands were asked to report any fisheries-related events or activities on their islands to the TFD so they could be included in the website and newsletter.

The team encountered some difficult conditions during the trip with a tender boat almost capsizing when it was hit by a wave in the reef channel at Niulakita. The waters around that island are known to be rough, so the metronome trips can at times be difficult and staff need to be dedicated to ensuring food security for Tuvalu’s communities!

The final Metronome trip for 2017 to the northern islands will be run from the end of September. This trip, the Niutao, Nanumaga and Nanumea will focus on similar work on on-going monitoring and consultations as part of TDF’s commitment to ensuring fisheries issues are addressed on all islands of the country, and not just Funafuti.

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3rd Fisheries Monitoring & Management Consultation with Funafuti Community FMMC3

Photo by: Matelina Stuart
FMMC3 Group Photo

Coastal Fisheries staff of the Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) held the third fisheries monitoring & management consultation FMMC3 with the Funafuti community and Fishermen of Funafuti Association FOFA. The meeting was held on the 3rd of August 2017 at the Tausoalima Falekaupule with the primary aim of discussing options and obtaining feedback on management of the Funafuti reef fisheries and the development of a comprehensive Stewardship Plan (FRFSP). The Fisheries Monitoring & Management Consultations (this being FMMC3) aim to ensure the community is an integral part of the development of the FRFSP which aims to restore the productivity of Funafuti’s coastal fisheries to higher levels. The reef fisheries are currently in a poor state and it is expected that with measures designed to protect reproduction, including strengthening of the Funafuti Conservation Area, size limits for certain species and promotion of fishing offshore, that the fish available for catching will be greatly increased.

The Funafuti community and representatives of other groups who attended the meeting, showed their gratitude with progress to date and were generally in agreement with the plan as it has been developed with their inputs since February of this year. The draft Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan has now been drafted and will, in the coming months be finalised with continuing consultations. TFD, Funafuti Kaupule and representatives from related projects have agreed to meet again to create an action plan and budget for the activities developed in the stewardship plan and 3rd FMMC. Another consultation, FMMC4, will be held later in late October 2017 to discuss on the work plan and budget.

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The Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan

FRFSP-BookThe Tuvalu Fisheries Department, in association with the Funafuti Kaupule (Island Council), Falekaupule (Elders), Fishermen in Funafuti Association (FOFA) and the community is developing a comprehensive plan for the management of stressed fishery resources on Funafuti Atoll. The plan is expected to optimise our use and benefits from fisheries.

The Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship Plan (FRFSP) is not simply a fisheries management plan focused on ensuring sustainable use of fished resources, but embodies a whole-atoll approach which recognises the role of people and healthy ecosystems in fisheries and adaptively responds to change. Focusing on smart use of the already established Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA), and avoiding the use of too many complex rules and seeking to preserve and enhance livelihoods and food and nutrition security for Tuvaluans living in Funafuti, the FRFSP has been designed to ensure reef fisheries recover to more productive levels.

The most difficult aspect of the plan to understand is that a reduction in fishing pressure will within a short time (a few years) lead to greater productivity with less future fishing effort.

Coastal marine resources (including invertebrates) are currently being exploited by traditional subsistence and small-scale artisanal fishers (Pita, 2005). Fisheries have been a major source of employment and income for local fishers as well as the source of fish supplies for the community through the roadside fish markets. This also includes women who collect shellfish and focus on handicrafts. Traditionally, fishers used outrigger canoes by paddling or sailing, working in the lagoon or outer reef and coastal waters. In the 1960-70s there was a shift to part-time fishing using small outboard-powered monohull aluminium, fibreglass or plywood boats.

In the last 10 or so years, there has been a worldwide move away from fisheries development (i.e. expansion of effort) to a more moderate approach which recognises that resources are limited and can relatively easily be overfished. The focus is now more on good management, or stewardship of the resources to ensure the food supply and resilience for communities against climate change. The Tuvalu Fisheries Department (TFD) is tasked with improving fisheries livelihoods and food security in Tuvalu in line with the government planning documents Te Kakeega III and TFD’s Corporate plan.

The so-called “nutrition transition” is well underway in Funafuti, with dietary patterns shifting since the 1970–80s from traditional low fat diets, typically based on complex carbohydrates, fresh fish and meat and leafy greens, to increasingly modern diets, based on refined starch, oils, processed meats and confectionary (Charlton et al., 2016, Ahmed et al., 2011). These changes now mean that access to food of sufficient nutritional and cultural value is the primary driver affecting food security, more so than general food availability (McCubbin et al., 2017). In the McCubbin study 52% of people surveyed in Funafuti ate less desirable imported foods, which tended to be nutrient poor because they could not access preferred local foods. Factors affecting access to local foods included availability of and access to land; declining involvement in local food production; the convenience of imported foods; unreliable interisland shipping; and climate and environmental changes that have negatively affected food security and are expected to continue to do so. Having a healthy and productive reef fishery is clearly of major importance for reversing some of these trends.

Status of the Resources

As part of its work, the Coastal Fisheries Section of the TFD has been carrying out resource assessments and monitoring to provide the information needed for management. Creel surveys are suited to that task because they provide information on the fishers, the resources being caught and the effort required in a way that can be used to assess the health of the fishery. The purpose of the creel survey, which was begun in April 2015 and will be on-going indefinitely, included measuring the catches (numbers, sizes and weights) of fished resources, assessing their health and identifying stressed resources in need of management. Full results of the creel are found in the Creel Report No. 1 (Alefaio et al., 2016) which can be downloaded from www.tuvalufisheries.tv/library.

imageAs part of the creel survey, data on fish lengths were compared with known values of size at maturity (Lm) for 22 species for which data are available. This was used as an indicator to assess whether the resources were overfished. Fishes were considered overfished if 50% or more of the animals landed were smaller than the size at maturity.

The results of the first Creel Report showed that coastal fisheries in Funafuti are overfished. A total of 14,508 specimens were landed and measured during the survey, including 180 species of fishes in 30 families. Of the 22 species that could be assessed for signs of overfishing, 13 (60% of species) had 50% or more of the catch below the size at maturity. This means that the fishes are being caught and removed from the population before they can reproduce. The main fishes showing strong signs of overfishing in Funafuti included acanthurids (pone / surgeonfishes), carangids (ulua, kamai, trevallies), serranids (gatala, groupers), lethrinids (noto, emperors) and lutjanids (taea, snappers). The graph shows the sizes of fishes being landed compared with the size at maturity for this species of snapper shown as the red arrow.

Consultations

In response to a clear need to address overfishing in Funafuti’s reef fisheries, the Fisheries Department began consulting with fishers, leaders and the community to develop a management plan capable of reversing the declines and restoring the fisheries to a more productive state. To ensure that the interests of members of the public were taken into account in the process, several Fisheries Monitoring and Management Consultations (FMMC) are being conducted in 2017. The Stewardship Plan will be the outcome of those consultations.

  • Initial Fisher’s meeting 9th February: A pre-meeting held between Funafuti Fishermen’s Association and TFD (Coastal and Operations & Development sections) to inform fishermen on Creel Survey results, Artisanal Tuna, Ciguatera Fish Poisoning, Sea Safety and post-harvest training.
  • FMMC1 23-24 February: This meeting included four main activities: (1) Report by Coastal Section on results of the creel survey; (2) Presentation of a range of management options that could be used in Funafuti; (3) Working Groups to discuss the options and suggest approaches that might work; (4) Consensus mandate derived by the participants to guide TFD’s work on the FRFMP. The meeting was attended by members of the Funafuti Fishermen’s Association, the Kaupule and Falekaupule, representatives of the outer islands communities living in Funafuti, and other members of the public. At the end of the meeting, participants requested that TFD develop a proposed plan to present at the next consultation for them to consider. The full report (Paka, 2017) and all others in this series can be downloaded from the Tuvalu Fisheries website www.tuvalufisheries.tv/library
  • FMMC2 27th April: Presentation of the proposed FRFMP to identify any issues and steer further development
  • FMMC3 planned July: First draft of the FRFMP presented for discussion and adjustments; and FMMC4 planned for September: Adoption of the finalised FRFMP and development of work plan and implementation.

The Stewardship Plan

The Funafuti Reef Fisheries Stewardship plan will be focused on reversing some of the damage already done to the nearshore fisheries in Funafuti with the ultimate aim of increasing the current low productivity. In the end, the aim is to increase the supply of fishes, invertebrates and other seafoods being fished now or in the past, to improve the state of the ecosystems that support them and to reduce problems with ciguatera, algal overgrowth and coastal pollution. The FRFSP will be designed to:

  • Establish the conditions for recovery of the resources,
  • Educate and involve the public so we are all part of the solution,
  • Establish transparent processes for activities, enforcement of rules and funding, and
  • Ensure good coordination with other development activities and departments so that clashes in approaches can be minimised or eliminated.

Updates on the plan will be available as it is developed through the consultation process. The text and information products will be widely distributed by September of this year. Watch this space for further information !

References

Ahmed, M., Maclean, J. L., Gerpachio, R. V. & Sombilla, M. A. (2011) Climate change and food security in the Pacific. Rethinking the options. Pacif ic Studies Series, pp. 85. Asian Development Bank, Manila.

Alefaio, S., Finauga, M., Italeli, S., Kaitu, L., Kaly, U., Lopati, P., Makolo, F., Petaia, M., Taufilo, M., Taula, H. & Tetoa, F. (2016) Tuvalu Fisheries Creel Survey Report No. 1. pp. 21. Funafuti.

Charlton, K. E., Russell, J., Gorman, E., Hanich, Q., Delisle, A., Campbell, B. & Bell, J. (2016) Fish, food security and health in Pacific Island countries and territories: a systematic literature review. BMC Public Health, 16, 285.

McCubbin, S. G., Pearce, T., Ford, J. D. & Smit, B. (2017) Social-ecological change and implications for food security in Funafuti, Tuvalu. Ecology and Society, 22.

Paka, L. (2017) 1st Fisheries Monitoring & Management Consultation (FMMC-01) in Funafuti 23-24 February 2017. Funafuti.

Pita, E. (2005) Tuvalu Integrated framework diagnostic trade integration study: Fisheries – Tuvalu’s pathway to trading. Tuvalu Integrated Framework for Trade Related Development Assistance Diagnostic Integration Study, pp. 33. ADB, AusAID, NZAid, World Bank, WTO, UNDP.

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Joint Venture Agreement Signed: National Fishing Corporation of Tuvalu (NAFICOT), SAJO and O Yong Fishing Industry

IMG_20170629_083204RThe National Fishing Corporation of Tuvalu (NAFICOT), owned by the Government of Tuvalu signed a Joint Venture (JV) agreement with Sajo Industries of Korea and O Yang Fishing Industry (also from Korea) on the 29th of July 2017 at the Funafuti Lagoon Hotel in Tuvalu. The Joint Venture agreement was signed by the Honourable Dr Puakena Boreham, Minister of Natural Resources and Mr Lee, Manager and major shareholder from Sajo, along with Mr Kim a legal representative for Sajo. The signing of the Joint Venture agreement was witnessed by the Honourable Prime Minister of Tuvalu and Ministers from each Ministry in conjunction with their permanent secretaries and senior administrative personnel from the Fisheries Department.

The principal objective of establishing this Joint Venture was to generate greater revenue for the people of Tuvalu than just from licensing of distant water fishing nations alone. The two parties agreed to call the JV company ‘Tusa Fishing Company Limited’, linking the name of Tuvalu and Sajo. The word also has a deeper meaning in both languages. In Tuvaluan ‘Tusa’ means ‘equal’ or ‘partnership’, while in Korean it refers to a warrior (of the sea). The fishing vessel to be operated in this JV is a purse seiner called Sajo Olympia, but is now being renamed to ‘FV Taina’. ‘Taina’ refers to ‘friend’ in Tuvaluan and the partners selected this name to mark their friendly partnership working together towards success.

Sajo Industries Co. Ltd. is a Korea based company that engages in production and distribution of food and livestock products. The company has four main business divisions, with the Deep-sea Fishing division involved in catching tuna, cod, pollack, squid and other marine species. The Food Business division specialises in processing seafood products such as canned tuna, saury and mackerel, and provides the company with a strategic advantage of vertical integration for seafood related products. In 2016, the government of Tuvalu was approached by Sajo Industries with a proposal to enter into a joint venture arrangement for one of its purse seine vessels, Sajo Olympia.

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Connecting People to Nature: Why Protect our Marine Resources?

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A tour to Fualopa, an islet within Funafuti’s conservation area was part of the Fisheries’ department’s role played in World Environment Day 2017.  The visit was organised as an awareness activity to link to the World Environment Day theme on “Connecting People to Nature”.  The Funafuti Conservation Area (FCA), a marine protected area, extends  from the northern centre of the channel between Tepuka and Tepukavilivili to a position about 1.11 km south of Tefala islet on the western side of Funafuti Atoll. The area under conservation extends between the 30m depth contour on the eastern side in the lagoon and the 20m depth contour west along the ocean side. The FCA occupies a total area of approximately 33km2 of the western reef margin, including six small islets. The Funafuti Conservation Area FCA was first established in 1997 and went into force under the Funafuti Conservation Area Act on the 1st of December 1999. This is a vital component of fisheries management and biodiversity for the atoll, helping to guarantee the resilience of the marine resources and habitats, and the sustainable utilisation of those resources in areas outside the conservation area by acting as a breeding refuge. In addition overflow of adult fishes that swim out of the conservation area add to the catchable resource in other parts of the atoll.

The Fisheries Department organised a field trip for Form 2 students from the Nauti and Seventh Day Adventist Primary schools. There were 52 people participating overall, including the pupils, teachers, Environment Day Committee, and some Fisheries staff. The visit took place on Friday the 9th of June 2017, starting at 8:00 in the morning with boats leaving from the main wharf and heading out to Fualopa islet. An awareness activity took place at Fualopa to all who attended the field trip. It started out with a brief lecture on what a Marine Protected Area is, why is it important to protect our maritime resources, information in the form of a map of the FCA and a brief account of its formation. Penalties for people who poach the FCA were also discussed. Fisheries officers also explained the food chain of the marine resources by showing pictures and how we humans connect to the resources. The study trip was unbelievably fun and enjoyed by the school kids and there was a strong sense of discovery. Students asked many questions and recorded their thoughts for later sharing in their households and at school. The field trip ended with a drive around the islet of Fualopa before heading home.

This activity was fully funded by the World Bank Pacific Regional Oceanscape Programme (PROP).

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