2018 got off to a rocky start for the fate of ornamental fisheries in Fiji – it all began with a notice from the Fiji Ministry of Fisheries and Forrests (FMFF) stating that they plan to essentially ban everything but fish collection immediately. In that statement the FMFF mentioned that they wanted to promote aquaculture of corals instead of wild harvest in such a way that seemed as if they were unaware it was already transpiring on a large scale.
Low and behold, when Walt Smith sat down with members of the FMFF recently they seemed surprised to learn about the Aquaculture and Development for the Environment Project. The ADE Project is already well underway to promoting coral farming and supporting sustainable stewardship by planting more corals than are even exported from the country!
The reason for this is that farmed corals are not all perfectly sellable, and the ‘rejects’ – maybe not ideal for aquariums but plenty good for reef restoration – get out planted to rebuild local reefs. With this ‘new’ information in hand the FMFF is now reviewing their previous stance and expected to hold another meeting next week to discuss the issue further. We hope that the ADE Project will soften the Ministry’s sudden hardline stance on coral harvesting in Fiji and that they will participate in this sustainability endeavor. [ADE Project]