Namena Marine Reserve
Namena Marine Reserve

News and Events

* “Ecotales”, a Natural and Cultural History Guide, Now Available!

Ecotales Front CoverEcotales from Kubulau: A Guide to the Cultural and Natural Heritage of the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape, a joint publication by WCS Fiji and the Coral Reef Alliance, showcases the remarkable plants and animals that are both astounding in their beauty and culturally important to the people who live in the Vatu-i-Ra Seascape.

It is our hope that the guide will raise awareness about the importance of the plants and animals to local livelihoods, cultures, and ecosystem functions. The stories in these pages come directly from the elders of Kubulau, who have described their associations with species for medicine, decorative arts, building materials, food, and totem spirits. By collecting these stories, we are preserving the traditional knowledge that is rapidly fading away with modernization for future generations.

Proceeds from the sale of the guide will directly support ecosystem management and community development in Kubulau.

The guide is available at bookshops around Fiji and through the University of the South Pacific’s Book Center. To order your copy, please click here.

Kubulau & Waitabu peer-to-peer exchange

Eight Kubulau community members went to Namena’s sister site – Waitabu in the Bouma district.  Namale, Aggressor II, Korosun Dive, and L’Aventure Cousteau have deemed Kubulau as the destination of choice due to their popular eco-tourism and village visits.  There was a peer-to-peer exchange between the Kubulau and Waitabu to help both sites increase community-based tourism.

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count – November 2-8, 2008

The Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count – November 2-8, 2008

School of ButterflyfishWhy are we counting Butterflyfish?

Butterflyfish are easily observed in all regions of Fiji, and counting them tells us a lot about coral health and water quality. Most Butterflyfish feed on and live among hard corals, so they depend on reefs that are in good condition. Coral animals need good water quality and steady temperatures between 68° and 86°F (20° and 30°C) to thrive. High numbers of Butterflyfish reflect good coral health, which in turn reflects good water quality. On healthy, live reefs, we would expect to see many different kinds of Butterflyfish, but if reefs are unhealthy, we may see a drop in numbers and variety.

The Process

Butterflyfish Count SlateBased on scientific survey techniques, Butterflyfish will be identified and counted over all the regions of Fiji. The count itself will take 30 minutes of a normal scuba dive, snorkel, or glass-bottom boat trip. During this time, counters will carry a Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count waterproof slate (shown at right) to help them identify the Butterflyfish they see. Scientists will carry out similar timed counts over measured areas and the results will be sent to Fiji Reef Check and Global Coral Reef Monitoring Network coordinators for analysis. Reports and a distribution map of Butterflyfish Abundance and Diversity will be posted on the Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count Web site.

Results and Data

The collected data will allow the coordinators to map Butterflyfish distribution and abundance in Fiji, as well as infer patterns of reef health. The results will be made available to all interested parties, including:

  • Foureye ButterflyfishEnvironmental managers, to develop better management plans for the reef system.
  • The scientific community, to assist them in the implementation of conservation strategies and management measures to improve the health of Fiji’s reefs.
  • The tourism industry, including resorts and dive operators, to raise awareness and assist them in designing better approaches toward caring for the marine environment.
  • The general public, through the Great Fiji Butterflyfish Count Web site, local newspapers, in-flight magazines, local magazines, posters, and so on.
  • A major country report will be compiled and released, to increase general awareness and to illustrate the positive outcome on protecting Fiji’s reef system for generations to come.

This unique event engages the public in a celebration of Fiji’s amazing coral reef biodiversity, and allows everyone to participate directly in the protection of our world’s delicate coral reef systems.

Photo credit (top): Andaman Butterflyfish (Chaetodon andamanensis); photo credit (bottom): Foureye Butterflyfish (Chaetodon capistratus) by Paddy Ryan

Nine mooring buoys installed at North & South Save-a-tack

Nine mooring buoys were installed at Namena Lagoon’s North & South Save-a-tack Passages and the Kubulau Lagoon.  Moorings were installed at Save-a-tack Passages dive sites  including: Kansas, North Save, near Chimneys (also useful for Blackforest and Neptunes), South Save, Keenans (useful for Robins Rainbow), and Fantasy.  At the Kubulau Lagoon, moorings were installed at the Kiobo Village, Natokalau Village, and  Navatu Bay.

Alternative livelihood workshops

Discussing ideas during the alternative livelihood workshop

The Namena/Kubulau Business Plan Socialization project was launched in January and will continue till the end of 2009.  The head of each social group (men, women, and youth) and each village spokesman will attend micro-enterprise workshops.  It will be hosted by the Chairman of the Kubulau Resource Management  Committee (KRMC) and another facilitator.  This will generate alternative income for the community.

Saving the Reef- One Mooring at a Time

This year, with support from CORAL, the Kubulau community will install 3 new mooring buoys. Mooring buoys save reef habitat by allowing vessels to “moor” or tie up to a buoy, rather than dropping a heavy anchor on reef habitat.  The new mooring buoys will be installed closer to the shore allowing for easier access to land-based activities.

Rugby Team Supports the Reserve

Namena Rugby Team

Kubulau Rugby team suited up with gear provided by the Coral Reef Alliance

This year the Kubulau district received a new weapon: the Kubulau Rugby Team. Armed with new jerseys, shorts, socks and equipment bags (provided by the Coral Reef Alliance, an international non-profit dedicated to coral reef conservation), these young Fijians have taken advantage of the opportunity to represent their community in a local tournament.

The Great Sea Reef tournament was created to raise funds for fishing wardens and equipment to address problems of illegal fishing in a neighboring community. The team was very successful in the tournament and essential in creating awareness around local conservation efforts.