Saturday, March 07, 2009

Back to School!

Recognize anybody? (click)
Ten BAD Boys and Girls and six Gentlemen from Waitabu Marine Park have spent three days learning about Reef Ecology and Fiji's Fisheries Law, courtesy of the Coral Reef Alliance who fronted the costs for the Taveuni gang and SRMR and BAD who organized & financed the whole gig.

Our thanks go to the Department of Fisheries, foremost to the Director, Commander Naqali for having accepted to run the course and for having sent us a team of brilliant lecturers. All the participants have assured me that they have thoroughly enjoyed the experience and learned heaps in the process!

The result? 16 brand new Fish Wardens!
These are sort of "Park Rangers" who are given full authority by the Government to enforce the Fisheries Law. They can arrest poachers, inspect cargo, even confiscate catches and boats - great for monitoring and enforcing the fishing ban in our respective Marine Protected Areas!

Fisheries tell me that they would welcome more such cooperation between Government and the Private Sector.
To us, it makes perfect sense: it is in our best business interest to protect the reefs we dive and by being on the water on a daily basis, we have the best chances of catching any poachers. Much more effective than training people from the Communities who all too often don't dispose of adequate boats and quite frankly, often lack the motivation to go out and do the job - very difficult anyway as chances are that one may have to arrest a relative.

Dear Colleagues: wanna think about it?

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