The 23rd and 24th of July saw various MES member Resort operators, including representatives from the 4 village communities of Solevu, Yaro, Yanuya and Viseisei, gathering at Bounty Island Resort to undergo a 2 day turtle awareness and conservation workshop. Workshop facilitators were Dr. Ken Mackay and Merewalesi Laveti from the Institute of Marine Resources (IMR) Faculty of Islands and Oceans of the University of the South Pacific, Neema Nand from the Ministry for Fisheries plus Betani Salusalu and Fesi Isimeli of MES.
It was a successful workshop and much light was shed on the 5 year Turtle Moratorium currently in place for Fiji. The Moratorium was launched in March 2003 and will end on the 31st of December, 2008. Participants were enlightened by Dr. Ken’s degree of knowledge as he took them on a journey on the life history of turtles. They were amazed to learn that these magnificent and noble creatures once existed alongside the dinosaurs more than 500 million years ago. Participants are now better aware of why it is critically important to save turtles from extinction and are more encouraged to take back the knowledge to their various work places and village communities.
The workshop was an initiative of the IMR and MES and was funded by the Australian Government’s Regional Natural Heritage Programme for the Project Turtle Conservation in Fiji, Tuvalu and Vanuatu.