Vanuatu was represented by a single delegate at the International Union for the Conservation of Nature's (IUCN) recent World Conservation Congress held on the tourist island of Jeju in South Korea.
Kenneth Lango, the secretary of the Tasi Vanua Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA) in North Efate was on Jeju with around 4000 delegates from around the world to talk about the future of the earth and how to conserve our biodiversity and ecosystems – through adopting development practices that have nature at heart – to ensure equitable sharing of benefit and a sustainable source of food for the growing world population.
“I am really happy to be here and I am learning a lot from the other 18 LMMA participants from countries across the Caribbean, Pacific and Indian oceans," Lango said. "We are sharing our experiences and local knowledge of traditional marine resource management and this helps by giving us ideas on how to improve our own management areas."
The LMMA involves 20 communities in the Pacific island nation of Vanuatu, from Mangaliliu in the North West Efate to Pangpang on East Efate and includes the islands of Lelepa, Moso and Emau.
“We created these local marine protected areas in our communities because we realize that if we do not do anything, there won’t be enough fish out there on the reefs to sustainably feed our growing population," Lango said.
“Our objective is to replenish fish and shell fish stocks on our reefs so that our future generation can enjoy the same benefits from the sea like we do now. The whole reefs are not under taboo. Only allocated segments of our reefs in each community are dedicated as ‘no take zones’ where fishing is not allowed. To help respect this, we have community managers who look after their own community projects. With the help of the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) and the department of fisheries, we have floaters offshore and in the deep sea as Fishing Aggressive Devices (FADs) as alternative fishing spots for the communities to fish without going into the protected zones.”
This is the first time for such a diverse group of community leaders to be brought together under one roof.
The IUCN said it values the work of LMMA’s across the globe as an important tool of conservation that ensures food security for the local communities and the world.