Coral reef perils are many, driven by overfishing, tourism, land degradation and global warming to name a few. While overfishing, tourism and land degradation occurring in the Mamanuca region can be addressed directly, addressing causes of global warming will be a great challenge for these small island resorts, when they are left with bleached coral reefs. Two resorts in the Mamanuca’s have taken a step forward to help and restore coral reefs.
Castaway Island Resort has started off their monthly coral planting activity with the aim of planting and growing a combined football field of coral across all its Outrigger group of hotels. The activity was attended by in-house guests who planted 21 coral fragments (Acropora species) and the table is placed out on the reef. The coral planting activity is a continuous program which will be carried out once a month targeting in-house guest and staffs.
This activity also highlights the mission statement of Outrigger Ozone, that is, “to protect coral reef ecosystem in tropical destination”. Since most of the outrigger chains of resorts are located along the coast, marine ecosystem is paramount as it is one of the natural resources that is enjoyed by the guest through recreational activities.
The program for the day began with a brief presentation on the environmental conservation work that is also carried out at Castaway Island Resort such as Tree Planting, Reef Check, Crown-of-Thorns monitoring, Sea water sampling, Clam farming, Site Inspection, Refresher course, and Coastal clean up. The aim of the program is to address the main three threats to coral reefs which include climate change, land based sources of pollution, and negative impacts of fishing.
“I do love the program, and must say that I am so lucky to be part of it. I didn’t know that coral can be planted and grown back onto the reef”, said Mrs Sue, guest at Castaway Island Resort. Castaway Island Resort thanked MES for the contribution towards the coral planting program and is looking forward to the rest of the scheduled Coral planting program for 2016.
Castaway Island Resort has also started off their monthly round of island beach clean up activity. The activity attracted 11 staff who have volunteered to be part of the initiative with the aim of cleaning the beach for the betterment of the coastal environment.
The activity also highlight the issue of waste management and how it can impact our beaches. Such waste can also affect the life of many marine species especially Sea Turtles. This is the season for sea turtles to nest and having such waste along the beach can be one of the obstructions for turtles to crawl up to the beach to lay eggs. Even some of the waste that washed up on the beach can end up back into the ocean if they are not picked/removed this waste can end up in the gut of any marine species, mostly sea turtles and coastal birds.
A brief introduction was made to the participants about the activity and the importance of it to the reef and coastal area of Qalito Island. Waste management have been one of the high rated impact that have been affecting most of the marine and terrestrial ecosystem throughout Fiji. The two most common waste picked along the beach around Qalito Island is plastic bottles and Styrofoam. The participants were able to fill 24 sacks which was audited at the end of the activity.
Castaway Island Resort would like to thank MES for the contribution towards the round the island program and is looking forward to the rest of the schedule round the island program to come. The resort has pledged and scheduled every third week of the month to plant corals along its house reefs. One of the main themes for Marine Day activity is to protect marine life.
This week, Malolo Kids club members planted 17 live coral fragments which were later transferred to the reef edge. This program will see the commitment from resort staff, guests and management contribute to coral reef cover on house reefs.