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Published: March 25th 2016
Over the last two weeks, we have had new volunteers arriving, although in a much smaller number and visited Snake Island a tiny island with incredible coral reefs between ourselves and it. The island is home to many birds as well as sea snakes, although we didn’t see any this time (more like snakeless island). Sea snakes are not shy creatures and have come up to us during dives. They end up growing to 1.5m in length.
The dives we are doing now are coral, benthic and invertebrate point outs ready for surveying the reefs. There are around 60 species we need to be able to identify in all their different forms so no easy or quick task.
I have also been working on a waste plan for the island ensuring that our practises are something we can promote to other islands across Fiji. Currently our waste management is pretty much hidden from view, meaning it is badly maintained, not pleasant to go to and does not engage the other islanders to use them. Recycling is contaminated, general waste, which is landfilled, piles up and causes mosquitoes, flies and cockroaches to hang around resulting in possible diseases. All this
has to change, recycling and general waste needs to be brought to the front, smartened up, collected more frequently and well signed. There is very little recycling across the whole of Fiji, therefore we are hanving to work with a company who want everything collected separately from cans, tins, PET plastics, shampoo and bleach bottles, separated Fiji beer glass (which can be sold back to the brewery) and even all cardboard dried- which is not going to work on an island with a mini boat to get us to and from the main island of Viti Levu. Fortunately we can cut down our cardboard by using reusable wooden crates, made on the island for all our resupply and the rest can be composted. In Silana local women can use plastic wrapping to make purses and laptop case and the Moturiki district use plastic bags as stuffing to make as bean bags for local schools and for the islands. A good form of reuse already. There is no Tetra Pak (drink cartons) recycling, so we have stopped buying liquid milk and use powdered milk. It is only used for teas as well. It is at least progress and a nice new recycling station should be completed in the next 2-3 weeks. Sadly I won’t be here but it is good to see the island planning how to engage new volunteers as well as the local community.
The last two weekends have been spent off the island- one in Suva, watching a Fiji v Japan rugby match. This was a fundraiser to help raise money for victims of the cyclone. Japan certainly did not have a chance here and lost 44-14. It was certainly different to watching Scotland play at Murrayfield. First of all because the team we were there to see actually won (sorry Scotland ruby fans- but it is true J) and secondly I wasn’t freezing with hands and feet that would likely fall off.
Last weekend we did the shark dive again. This time it was the official dive complete with feeding as well. It was incredible to see so many sharks, although at times it did seem a bit of a frenzy. These dives are so important to educate people about shark conservation and the importance of sharks in the water. Sadly a bizarre delicacy of shark fin soup is killing these incredible creatures. The challenge of this is that with no sharks at the top of the food chain, other fish takeover such as groupers take over. Groupers can eat the same amount of food in one day as a shark would eat in a week. With fish stocks at their lowest since records began this is causing even fewer fish to be left in our oceans. The local tuna in Fiji are now over 40% less their body weight than they were a decade ago because the tuna are not able to feed as much as they were able to. All of this, as well as the usual trawler and long line fishing methods are causing a massive strain and unbalance of fish stocks within the seas.
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