IAS Scientific officer empowered on coral reef management
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Tomasi conducting his presentation at the International Coral Reef Leadership and Management Fellowship Programme in Australia.
A Scientific Officer at The University of the South Pacific’s (USP) Institute of Applied Science (IAS) has returned from a coral reef management workshop in Australia with the hope of empowering community members to be strong stalwarts of managing their coral reefs.
Mr Tomasi Tikoibua said the programme gave him the opportunity to learn from a good number of marine scientists in Australia and from other participants on the implementation of various coral reef management tools.
“Healthy coral reefs sustain the tourism and fisheries industry which contributes to the region’s GDP annually,” he noted.
Tomasi snorkelling at the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
“With the health of coral reefs being endangered throughout the world, sharing experiences and lessons learnt while implementing gained knowledge minimises these threats.
“As such, building capacity for coral reef management strengthens the foundations for sustainable development in countries where coral reefs are key to human well-being,” Mr Tikoibua shared.
Mr Tikoibua, who is involved in community projects on marine management and conservation under the Environment Unit at IAS, said that the programme inspired him to be a strong and proud steward in coral reef management.
He added that as most communities in Fiji and the Pacific region depend on fisheries for livelihood, the skills and knowledge that he gained in Australia would help him continue to empower community members in protecting and managing coral reefs.
Dr Johann Poinapen, Director of IAS stated that IAS works extensively with communities in the region to sustain their livelihoods.
“Accordingly, the Institute recognises the need of its staff to continually enhance their knowledge and learn of world’s best practices so they can serve the Pacific communities better,” he said.
The training comprised two courses, namely on high level leadership for marine resources managers and on excellence in reef management where different interactive modes of learning ranging from field activities to indoor training and presentation were employed.
It included morning health exercises and spending a week at the James Cook University’s Orpehus Island Research Station. The participants also visited and snorkelled at the John Brewer site of the Great Barrier Reef.
The 2017 International Coral Reef Leadership and Management Fellowship Programme was held in Queensland from 12 – 27 November and Mr Tikoibua’s participation was funded by the Australian Government’s Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, along with participants from the Caribbean, Indian and Pacific regions.
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