World Oceans Day 2022
The ocean produces 50% of the planet’s oxygen and is home to most of earth’s biodiversity. It presents a great diversity in wealth and supports an assemblage of marine and ocean resources including beaches, mangroves, sea grass, kelp forests, coral reefs and seamounts.
Minister for Agriculture, Waterways and Environment, Dr. Mahendra Reddy highlighted this while speaking at the commemoration of the World Oceans Day 2022 at Wailoaloa Beach in Nadi.
The theme for this year’s World Oceans Day 2022 is “Revitalization: Collective Action for the Ocean“. The World Oceans Day is marked each year on June 8 as a platform to celebrate our connection to the sea and to raise awareness on the vital importance of our ocean supporting humanity’s existence and sustenance.
“This year, we are commemorating World Oceans Day with one such tangible action of protecting the ocean and marine species through the Ocean Beach Clean Up here at Wailoaloa Beach. This action dwells on the knowledge that any amount of discarded wastes that we collect in Wailoaloa Beach today will make a difference in protecting our ocean and safeguarding marine life from land based pollution.”
“The Ministry of Environment has also declared the Great Sea Reef locally known as Cakaulevu or Qoliqoli Cokovata, Macuata as a RAMSAR site of significant international importance. It is the third largest reef system in the southern Hemisphere and has rich marine biodiversity. In addition to declaring the RAMSAR site, the Ministry in its efforts to protect coral reef ecosystems in Fiji has put in place a Coral Reef Policy that was launched in May 2020 to help guide the Ministry in strategic priorities and interventions at global and national levels. Fiji’s coral reef system comprises five reef types distributed over 10,020 square kilometres of marine inshore area of which Fijians rely upon for their livelihood, food source and cultural value.”
“With the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) as a tool, the Ministry regulates and applies good planning for long-term, sustainable development that ensures Fiji’s terrestrial and ocean spaces are protected,” Minister Reddy said.
Stakeholders involved in the Wailoaloa Beach clean-up included the Fiji Military Forces, Fiji Police Force, Pacific Flying School, Nadi Town Council, Biosecurity Authority of Fiji and staff from the Department of Environment.
To mark the World Oceans Day, the Ministry awarded cheques to twelve Jobs for Nature Rehabilitation (J-NR) Recipients from the Tuva Catchments who were selected to receive the J-NR Awards based on the criteria in line with the J-NR Policy.
“The J-NR programme adopts the concept of genuine partnerships and collaboration with local communities to support initiatives that promote the conservation and protection of Fiji’s environment. It encourages environmental stewardship and protection amongst Fiji’s citizens to actively engage in the protection, restoration and rehabilitation of their natural environment while they earn some allowance from it that supports their livelihood.”