After the damage suffered at the hand of TC Winston above and below the water, Matangi Island Resort in association with Civa Fiji Pearls is building a coral garden facility to produce between 8 and 10 tons a year of live coral in a serious effort to reconstruct reef systems around the island.
In our last post we described our personal ordeal with Severe Tropical Cyclone Winston and its devastating effect on many parts of Taveuni. Homes and business’s suffered major damage, including our own home and the implant shed in Vurevure Bay. Thankfully we survived intact, and like many others here occupied ourselves with rebuilding and repair programs in an effort to return to business as usual.
Hard Times for Coral Reefs
Whilst most of the famous dive sites and deeper reefs around Taveuni, Qamea, Matangi and Laucala fared well, other areas did suffer significant damage. Civa Fiji Pearls is committed to preserving and protecting the natural environment – after all it is key to sustaining our business – and we already had an ongoing coral gardening project in place with Makaira Resort, just off shore at Matei.
Now, in association with Matangi Private Island Resort, we are stepping up the scale to give a significant boost to reef recovery.
Coral reefs propagate naturally very slowly. The reefs surrounding our islands were created over the course of thousands of years, yet they are extremely fragile. Natural disasters and climate change take their toll in a relative blink of an eye. The Makaira project, initiated after the devastation of Cyclone Thomas, can not supply sufficient new coral alone to reseed the reefs pummeled once again by Cyclone Winston. The project with Matangi will significantly increase new coral output, creating four to five thousand coral seedlings per year.
The Project Sponsors
Along with Matangi and Civa, the project is fully supported by the Vanua Trust of Laucala. Some words from each of the key project sponsors…
Jone Fifita, Chairman of the Vanua Trust of Laucala, representing the Traditional Fishing Rights Owners says:
“For us at the Vanua Trust of Laucala, the development of our resources must be done in a sustainable manner. Working with Matangi Island Resort is always a great experience for us because their approach is always about long term development. We always feel from them a genuine concern about the environment in which they work. This coral rebuild project is just one other example of their dedication to the environment.”
Claude Michel Prevost, owner of Civa (Fiji) Pearls Ltd says:
“When Christene contacted us with this idea, we felt pretty confident that we could help. We have already helped Makaira resort in Taveuni 2 years ago with a similar project and we are still working with them to perfect the process. Now the challenge at Matangi is quite bigger, it will involve growing between 2000 and 2500 new coral seedlings every 6 months to 1-2 kg size before they are replanted in the reef. In three to five years from now, their reef systems will be completely different.”
Civa’s Bright Future
Despite Cyclone Winston and our recent personal losses, at Civa we are extremely positive about the future with a number of short, medium and long term projects progressing well:
– our Boutique in Matei is open and proving very popular
– very soon our pearl farm tours re-open after repairs and rebuilding
– the Makaira coral gardening project continues
– the larger scale coral gardening project with Matangi is confirmed and progressing
– and, as noted by Christene, another joint venture is in the pipeline with Matangi to commence a Giant Clam Hatchery
We have a strong desire to collaborate effectively with other local business’s (Makaira, Matangi, and our resort partners are examples) coupled with genuine respect for the environment, respect for local land and fishing rights owners, and respect for the community.
Combining this desire and respect into real world projects promises benefits for all involved, and we are very happy to be where we are now.
We will share more details regarding the Giant Clam Hatchery in a future post, so stay tuned !! Don’t forget you can follow us on our Facebook page too for additional photo and status updates in between blog posts.