Six representatives from New Caledonia who visited Fiji through the LMMA (Locally Managed Marine Areas) Network spent two nights at Yaro village/Malolo Island. The group consisted of four traditional leaders (Heads of their individual tribes), one rep from WWF New Caledonia who runs projects on Marine Protected Areas and the Chief of Aquaculture Services for the Northern Province.

The objective of their trip was to exchange knowledge on and learn about the relationship between Fijian cultural/traditional practices and the existing management systems which govern the set-ups of Fiji’s MPAs.  The visitors were quite astonished at the similarities between the Fijian culture and their own. What really touched them was the strong sense of togetherness that characterised the Fijian villages and especially the spirit of networking that the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Areas is known for.

“The New Caledonia team was mightily impressed with the successes that have been achieved in Fiji in regard to ecologically and economically sustainable marine biodiversity and resource conservation, and the establishment and participative management of marine protected areas. The New Caledonia team members have returned home with palpable renewed zeal for their current efforts to create new MPAs and to participate in their active management and valorisation.” (Quote from Mr. Ahab Downer- WWF New Caledonia)

Activities at Yaro village included visits to the plantations, open discussions with the elders of the village and snorkelling trips to Mana Island’s house reefs.  Much was learnt and experienced by the visitors and the Yaro people.