Our last excursion with the Feejee experience was yet another amazing highlight of our trip to Fiji. We got the chance to visit Votua village, snorkel, and plant coral. Votua village has two big environmental projects going on right now; one is their wastewater project while the other one is to help restore the damaged coral reef. We took part in the latter one by helping to plant coral.
Helping to restore the damaged coral reef is very important for the biodiversity in oceanic environments. Biodiversity is the diversity among and within plant and animal species in an environment. It is very important because if one organism dies other organisms around it will be damaged or die as well. What Fiji has done to attempt to bring more biodiversity back to the coral reefs is to have Marine Protected Areas (MPA). The goals of these areas are to have more and bigger fish and other species in the area, spread some of the organisms to areas outside of the MPA, the exportation of babies to surrounding areas, and to protect the healthy reefs.
The reason that this project started is because the coral reefs around Fiji are facing many problems like, sewage and water pollution, over fishing, the lack of environmental awareness and poor water supplies. As you can see in the graphs above, since the project in the village has started ten years ago, the percent of coral covering the hard bottom in the MPAs has increased by 40% while the algae covering the floor has lowered by more than 40%. When you compare these results with the results in green it is easy to see the impact the project has had on coral.
At the moment, they are doing a very good job at providing healthy coral reefs and maintaining/increasing the amount and size of fish in the MPAs. But there are some stuff that the village would to do as well. For example there is a lot of money involved with coral if the it is healthy because more and more tourists will want to see them, so there are job opportunities. The village would also like to continue to improve the coral reefs, improve the community’s knowledge about the coral, and improve the participation in marine conservation.