It is no secret that coral reefs across the globe are being affected by natural stressors and development. Today, these beautiful living underwater gardens are under threat from all sides. They contend with natural disasters like cyclones in addition to global climate change and more direct human impact like overfishing and pollution. To combat this dangerous decline in coral reefs, conservation projects are springing up all across the Pacific – in places like Navutu Stars in Fiji.
The Problem with Fiji’s Coral Reefs
Coral reefs degrade naturally as time passes. Combine natural degradation with the increasing frequency of natural disasters and human impact, and it becomes clear why 58% percent of the world’s reefs are under threat. Consider that Fiji’s coral reefs are contending – in any given year – with cyclones, severe coral bleaching events brought on by increased water temperatures and ocean acidification and humans. Destructive modern fishing techniques like dynamite and cyanide fishing, along with pollution, have left Fiji’s coral reefs in need of some serious rehabilitation.
Why Coral is Important to Fiji
Coral is an important foundation species. This means coral reefs play an important role in structuring the marine community in and around the Fiji islands. Many organisms and microorganisms can only flourish when the coral reef does. While these reefs cover less than one percent of the ocean’s surface, it provides a home for nearly a third of the all our saltwater fish species, as well as ten percent of all fish captured for human consumption – like the fresh tuna we get from the local fisherman each morning.
Coral Gardening in the Yasawas, Fiji
The foundation of any healthy coral reef is clear, clean water, low pollution, and an abundance of sea creatures that keep the ecosystem balanced. Coral gardening in the context of the Fiji program, means actively caring for our ailing corals reefs. This could be anything from training local community members and resort staff to effectively remove overabundant coral-killing predators to replanting broken coral and building fish houses or – as we like to call them – “coral castles.”
“My research has found that if you mimic a hurricane by scattering broken branches of live corals onto the rubble, the corals often attach to the rubble and begin re-establishing themselves. So what we have to do is learn to work with nature to help it recover.” – Dr. Bowden-Kerby, a US-born marine biologist who specializes in the restoration of coral reefs.
How You Can Help On Your Fiji Holiday
Navutu Stars Resort is nestled on Yaqeta Island and surrounded by gorgeous, vibrant coral reefs that need our help. They are the lifeblood of this spectacular island nation, and Navutu Stars isn’t about to let paradise turn sour. During your stay in Fiji you can choose from a number of activities that will bring you up close and personal with the South Pacific.
If you’re not interested in swimming with manta rays or getting SCUBA certified, consider giving a little back to the tropical paradise you’ll never forget. When you dive with Navutu Stars you can try your hand at coral gardening. Coral seeds are grown in a nursery then replanted on the reef to aid the ongoing restoration project – and you can help make a difference.