In 1998 the Waitabu Village of Taveuni declared its fishing grounds or “qoliqoli” to be “tabu” — a no-take fishing zone. NZAID initially supported the designation with funds for biological surveys and administration.
The Wainileli and the Bouma qoliqoli, were continually and heavily overfished, resulting in small fish stocks and damaged coral. Through the continuous drive of community members and non-governmental agencies, the region is now celebrating a healthy and abundant reef for the past 10 years!
Fishing grounds surrounding the Waitabu Marine Park have been observed to be highly overgrown with seaweeds which cover coral boulders and restrict growth of new coral. This provides poor habitat for other marine life. (Ecological Report and Photos prepared by Helen Sykes of Resort Support and Chinnamma Reddy)
The marine park or “tabu” area, through various surveys and visits, has been shown to have a variety of healthy coral and fish species. As a no-fishing zone for 10 years, the region sustains many surgeonfish (balagi) and parrotfish (ulavi) which maintain low levels of seaweed and algae. This natural maintenance allows for much new coral to expand.
The Waitabu community is proud to demonstrate the high success of the marine park. Fish species within the park are larger and more apt to breed and thus improve fishing stocks in all fishing grounds surrounding the park. This abundance is also a great attraction to visitors as fish are much friendlier to people within the safety of the park.