NUKU’ALOFA-February 16: 2.22pm (R2R MEDIA): The first meeting of the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment Community Management Committee for 2017 was held at Nukuleka Village here on Tongatapu on Wednesday, February 15.
Chaired by Ms Evaipomana Tu’uholoaki of the Ministry of Internal Affairs, the meeting included Town Officers from the 26 villages around the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment area.
Issues discussed included the current ‘Stop Stray Pigs Campaign’, eco-tourism plans, the Special Management Areas (SMAs) or fisheries protected areas, waste management in the FLC area, mangrove planting plans and the tree-planting programmes currently being implemented for communities around the FLC.
Outcomes of the meeting were:
- The meeting agreed that it is important to carry out the implementation of the Districts (Animal Enclosure) Regulations 2009, which outlines the regulation on animals and what can be done if owners do not follow the law.
- Various Town Officers and District Officers have agreed to reinforce this legislation at the communities such as that of Nukuleka, Lapaha & Tatakamotonga District and Urban areas of Nuku’alofa to avoid further damages caused by stray animals to farms and compounds of private property as well as environmentally related damage caused by them. The expected timeframe for when communities will begin putting down stray animals as stated in the Act will be in the last week of March. Their hope is to have this concurrently across the 26 villages of the FLC.
- The Ridge to Reef Project is currently leading the awareness campaign through television and radio programmes to inform and advise communities of best practices to safe guard their well-being and environment.
Interest continues to be registered for villages wanting to be involved more in the mangrove and tree planting programmes, as well as eco-tourism activities. Project is continuing intervention activities to communities already engaged and expanding to new communities in minor interventions. However available funds for wide-range implementation on eco-tourism is limited to only one more site for this year.
- Fisheries Ministry’s advised the meeting concerns on two proposed SMA sites pending for FMAC approval as finalization of cneighboring support is yet to be received while the two other sites in Lapaha and Nukuleka have been approved in December with implementation work to be starting soon at the communities.
- Waste management was another area of concern. The R2R project consultant for this sector advised that more needs to be done by the respective communities in controlling and managing waste in their respective areas. Last year the R2R program with Health, Waste Authority Limited and GIO had helped in clearing debris and waste from areas such as Popua and Patangata but members of the public are returning to dump waste again in some of the areas that have been cleaned. There is a call for Town Officers/District Officers and community members for a change of habits and behavior to better manage domestic wastes.
Chairlady Ms Evaipomana said it was important that Town Officers continue to take the lead role in getting their communities to support the different programmes being implemented in the Fanga’uta Lagoon Catchment area.