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Island people keen on R2R

Tuesday 28 February 2017 | Published in Local

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Consultations with people on southern group islands have been very positive so far, with many locals keen to support the strengthening of both land and marine protected areas, says Ridge to Reef project officer Teariki Rongo. A team from the Ministry of Marine Resources this month visited Atiu with its Ridge to Reef (R2R) partners for consultations with the community and its leaders to outline the project and get feedback on its application for their island. R2R is a four-year, $4 million project funded by the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility. The two key components of Ridge to Reef are Strengthening Protected Areas Management and Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Agriculture and Tourism. “We had some great feedback after the introduction of the R2R concept,” Rongo says. “We heard that there was one place under marine ra’ui, and we informed the community leaders that we would be back to conduct further marine surveys that can be used to identify areas of the reef and lagoon that may need protection in future. “For ra’ui to be most effective we need to use them to protect biodiversity. “In terms of community management of ra’ui, there was a suggestion that landowners and the community should take responsibility for the enforcement of ra’ui, rather than relying on island councils. “It’s an idea that could improve enforcement, especially where there is a loss of respect for ra’ui.” Other key MMR personnel on the trip were the Director of the Inshore and Aquaculture Division Kori Raumea and Atiu Fisheries Officer Toumiti Matangaro who, with Rongo, joined R2R coordinator Maria Tuoro, and climate change advisor Dr Teina Rongo in meeting with the Atiu Island Council and the members of the Takutea Trust. The Takutea Trust, consists of the island’s three Ariki and four Mataiapo Tutara, and is responsible for managing the Takutea wildlife reserve. Rongo says it was important to meet with the trust to discuss survey work to be conducted this year, and to hear their concerns and hopes for the future of the reserve. The brief visit also allowed the MMR team to meet with local fishers who were interested in applying for this year’s Fisheries Development Facility Small Grant Fund, he says. “The grants are just one of the direct ways we support local fishers. We were able to assist them in understanding the application process. “We now have a record number of applications from Atiu from fishers who are requesting a range of assistance, from fishing rods to sea safety equipment,” says Raumea. “There was also interest in the grant fund from women who collect seafood from the reef. “We want to help provide support to those who depend on the marine environment for their food security as well. “With the R2R project we can help promote conservation to safeguard food security for the future.” - MMR/ RM

Consultations with people on southern group islands have been very positive so far, with many locals keen to support the strengthening of both land and marine protected areas, says Ridge to Reef project officer Teariki Rongo. A team from the Ministry of Marine Resources this month visited Atiu with its Ridge to Reef (R2R) partners for consultations with the community and its leaders to outline the project and get feedback on its application for their island. R2R is a four-year, $4 million project funded by the United Nations Development Programme and the Global Environment Facility. The two key components of Ridge to Reef are Strengthening Protected Areas Management and Mainstreaming Biodiversity in Agriculture and Tourism. “We had some great feedback after the introduction of the R2R concept,” Rongo says. “We heard that there was one place under marine ra’ui, and we informed the community leaders that we would be back to conduct further marine surveys that can be used to identify areas of the reef and lagoon that may need protection in future. “For ra’ui to be most effective we need to use them to protect biodiversity. “In terms of community management of ra’ui, there was a suggestion that landowners and the community should take responsibility for the enforcement of ra’ui, rather than relying on island councils. “It’s an idea that could improve enforcement, especially where there is a loss of respect for ra’ui.” Other key MMR personnel on the trip were the Director of the Inshore and Aquaculture Division Kori Raumea and Atiu Fisheries Officer Toumiti Matangaro who, with Rongo, joined R2R coordinator Maria Tuoro, and climate change advisor Dr Teina Rongo in meeting with the Atiu Island Council and the members of the Takutea Trust. The Takutea Trust, consists of the island’s three Ariki and four Mataiapo Tutara, and is responsible for managing the Takutea wildlife reserve. Rongo says it was important to meet with the trust to discuss survey work to be conducted this year, and to hear their concerns and hopes for the future of the reserve. The brief visit also allowed the MMR team to meet with local fishers who were interested in applying for this year’s Fisheries Development Facility Small Grant Fund, he says. “The grants are just one of the direct ways we support local fishers. We were able to assist them in understanding the application process. “We now have a record number of applications from Atiu from fishers who are requesting a range of assistance, from fishing rods to sea safety equipment,” says Raumea. “There was also interest in the grant fund from women who collect seafood from the reef. “We want to help provide support to those who depend on the marine environment for their food security as well. “With the R2R project we can help promote conservation to safeguard food security for the future.” - MMR/ RM


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