The International Conference on Oceans and Rivers brought together experts in many interconnected areas of protection and management of oceans and rivers. The 3 days first ever gathering organized by the Fiji National University held at the FNU, Namaka Campus featured new developments in national and international research and development arenas, in social- cultural, economic and ecological linkage between the peoples and in a host of related areas and allow emerging researchers to showcase their innovative work. The opening speech of the President of Fiji emphasizes the importance of protecting our natural resources- both oceans and rivers and their significant roles they play to Fiji society, culture and economy.
The conference served as a platform of great networking and raising awareness on sustainable management of aquatic natural resources. The Mamanuca Environment Society Project Manager, Marica Vakacola presented challenges and success stories of the UNDP/GEF Mamanuca funded Sea Turtle Conservation Project. The uniqueness of the project collaboration targeting two different stakeholders, the tourist operators and the communities made the conservation of these endangered sea turtle very challenging. The second phase of the project, aims to implement the Best Practices and Guideline Document with resorts and Community Management Plan with the village communities respectively in fully protecting nesting beaches and foraging grounds of Hawksbill and Green Turtles that are found around the Mamanuca Region. A booth area was also setup displaying information and resource materials- flyers, posters, pamphlets and assisted the public seeking further information on the Turtle Project. The conference allowed networking with researchers working in conservation areas.
The Team is also thankful to the resort members, Vanua Lawa, cooperate sponsors for their continued assistance and support towards the project.