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Fiji Hub Achievement Report

March 2017
Objective: Environmental Engagement and Education

Environmental Engagement for Sustainably Developing Communities

Target objective: Environmental Engagement and Education


Provide the communities of Caqalai and Moturiki with information on their natural
resources, including the threats and means of protection, to empower them

Socio-economic surveys aid in determining current practices around and income from the coral reefs surrounding each
village of Moturiki. Our objective for Quarter 1 was to complete socio-economic surveys for all households in the village of
Daku.

In order for GVI Caqalais long-term monitoring surveys to have an impact we need to communicate
what we learn from them to the communities. Before that, we need to listen to what the
communities can tell us about their reefs. To do this, we turned to our partner FLMMA, the Fijian
Locally Managed Marine Area network, for their socioeconomic survey so we could better
understand the climate around fishing practices in the Moturikis villages.

Through GVIs Environmental Education classes every week in the two schools on Moturiki and
through teachers workshops on Caqalai, we strive to communicate the importance of marine
conservation. Before we begin suggesting the best methods for reef preservation, we needed to
assess how the villages use the reefs. To make a lasting impact, we need to understand, or at the
very least, be aware of the perspectives of the community members. This is where socioeconomic
surveys are valuable as a means to learn about the social, cultural, political and economic conditions
of the fishing practices in the Moturiki villages. FLMMA shared their socio-economic survey with us,
so not only can we use the data for our own project development, we can also report it back to
FLMMA.

This year, we aim to complete socioeconomic surveys in at least five of the ten Moturiki villages as
part of achieving the United Nations Sustainable Development Goal 14 of conserving and
sustainably using the oceans, seas and marine resources. We knew the villages relied on the reef for
income and food, but to what extent? What species do they predominantly fish? What are the local
rules surrounding fishing practices? Are there ever disagreements about how to manage the
resources? In March, we finished surveying all of the twenty-two households in the village of Daku.
Surveys were conducted by the volunteers with help from Fijian-speaking staff members, in case
translation was required. Volunteers first received a presentation on how to conduct socioeconomic
surveysmainly a workshop on how to not to ask leading questions. Surveys were conducted almost
every week and, as volunteers gained confidence and comfort, more surveys were completed per
visit.

Among the people we spoke to were the church minister, a woman who tie-dyes, farmers and
fisherman; some people had lived in Daku for their entire lives and others had moved to the village
later. We learned that people catch fish, hunt crabs, collect shells and coconuts and grow the root
vegetable cassava and culturally important kava. Most said they ate fish or seafood - canned or fresh
- every day or every three days. Many felt like their opinions were heard in village meetings and
agreed with the current resource governance methods.

However, many also spoke of poaching by fishers in the surrounding villages, suggesting that most
fishing conflict came from inter-village as opposed to intra-village. There were conflicting opinions
about tabu areas - no-take zones designated by the traditional hierarchy. Some did not remember
the last tabu area in Daku; one man equated a tabu to murdering a fisherman. However, others
remembered the times where they could fish close to shore, times where the fish and sea
cucumbers were plentiful, whereas now they have to fish in deeper water in order to find the
sustenance they need.

Engaging in conversations improves our relationship with the villages. We do not assume to know
what they need and want; the only way to understand their needs is to talk to them. From our
conversations so far, we have been able to hear first-hand how they use the reef and what their
concerns are. It is our hope that communities will feel listened to and that we can do a better job of
responding to their needs.