The three years Mamanuca Sea Turtle Conservation Project Phase II is funded under the United Nations Development Programme – Global Environment Facility, Small Grants Programme (UNDP – GEF Small Grant Programme). The focus of the project is to help implement the Best Practice Guideline and Policy document and the Mamanuca Sea Turtle Community Based Management Plan and to meet the requirement of the National Turtle Recovery Plan in the protection of the critically endangered sea turtles.
The Mamanuca Environment team has been conducting consultations, awareness programmes, workshops to schools, communities and resorts to promote and maintain sustainable best practices techniques in the management of marine turtles by extending its outreach to these stakeholders. The team continues to strengthen advocacy in awareness in the beginning of this year by conducting Talanoa Sessions with resort members that spearheads Best Practices Guidelines for sea turtles and follow up consultations to the four communities on action plans that needs to be undertaken to protect breeding sites for sea turtles.
Talanoa (“talk” or “discussion” in Fijian, Samoan and Tongan) is a Pacific Island form of dialogue that brings people together to share opposing views without any predetermined expectations for agreement (Robinson D). Talanoa participants set the parameters for their discussions: inclusion, reconciliation and mutual respect. Talanoa Session began with resort staff at Castaway, Malolo, Mana & Likuliku Island resorts. The talanoa components included;
- Mamanuca Sea Turtle Conservation Project Update
- Mana Rehabilitation Project
- Laws & Regulations
- Turtle Tagging & Releasing Guidelines
- Best Practices & Guidelines (Nesting Season ): General Beach Conditions during turtle breeding season, Interactions with nesting turtles, Interaction with hatchlings, Vessels operating in turtle habitats
- Protocols and contact information for reporting of injured turtles should be
A total of 11 staff from Castaway, 17 from Malolo, 14 from Mana and 17 from Likuliku were part of the turtle talanoa. The talanoa created a platform for open discussion According to Miliana, Malolo Kids Club attendee; she stated that there should be more awareness programmes like this to be conducted on a monthly basis.
The follow up consultations with communities aims to provide further details on management plans outlined from trainings and workshops and discuss strategies in the implementation processes with the assistance of the Nadroga Navosa Provincial Office was also advised on all conservation related activities to ensure that our work is recognised and aligned through provincial level and the I- Taukei Conservation Handbook for approaching natural resource management.
The implementation for Mamanuca Community Management Plan & Best Practices Guideline documents will deliver long term conservation benefits for all communities and importantly promote sustainable tourism which in the future would provide a platform for sustainable tourism in Fiji. MES team looks forward to further engaging other resort members and communities on the Turtle talanoa.