PaCE-SD Team visits Viwa Island to pave the way for a community Invertebrate Fisheries Survey


The NERE-NAHAL TaxoBioDiv project is funded by a grant from the Agence Universitaire de la Francophonie (AUF) and will be carried out by the Pacific Centre for Environment and Sustainable Development (PaCE-SD) of The University of the South Pacific (USP) with the scientific and technical collaboration of the IRD (French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development) based in Nouméa, New Caledonia.

The project is led by Asc Prof Antoine D.R. N’Yeurt of PaCE-SD, and Dr. Pascal Dumas of the UMR ENTROPIE laboratory of IRD, and has two main objectives:

1) to document the biodiversity of subsistence marine invertebrates and seaweeds of a traditional community in Fiji and assess their importance.

2) evaluate the feasibility of developing an Artificial Intelligence algorithm for the automatic identification of species from photographs.

Ultimately, this tool will help support the emergence of indigenous expertise in biodiversity conservation, merging traditional knowledge of coastal species with modern identification techniques for the preservation of functional ecosystems and improving ecosystem management for sustainable use by future generations.

To pave the way for this work, a PaCE-SD team consisting of Mr. Filipe Veisa, Mr. Sairusi Bosenaqali and Asc Prof Antoine D.R. N’Yeurt visited Viwa Island off the eastern coast of Viti Levu on the 3rd of May 2024, to meet with the Turaga-ni-Koro and representatives of the local community of 32 families and just over 100 persons.

Information was gathered on local ecosystems including coastal mangrove forests, invertebrate fishing habits, and discussions held on logistical aspects of the week-long field work with IRD that will take place later this year in June.

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