Nuku’alofa – April 12, 2019: 9.55am (Enviro News): It has been interesting so far.
The Marine Spatial Planning team have heard views from 75% of Tongatapu as the consultation process for the planned Tonga Ocean Plan continues.
Having visited majority of the villages around the Hahake, Vahe Loto and Hihifo districts the consultation teams are now visiting villages within the greater Ma’ufanga and Kolomotu’a areas.
Consultations have also been done with stakeholders from the Non Government Organisations, Fisheries, Tourism and Marine industries.
While there were issues raised for clarifications in regards to zoning, what activities could be controlled and what might be good to help sustain our ocean and its resources, majority supported the planned Tonga Ocean Plan.
Consultant Dr Vailala Matoto said the Tonga Ocean Plan will help manage the ocean activities and sustaining marine resources.
“Things have changed from what it was 30 years to 40 years ago when our resources was enough to cater for our needs,” Dr Matoto said.
“Now there are more demands and we can see that our resources are reducing.
“And having a management plan would help in ensuring that we have our resources sustained.”
The consultation process will also include the two Niuas and is expected to be completed by May.
The first draft of the Tonga Ocean Plan is then expected to be taken around to the communities again in July with plans to have the plan finalised and implemented in 2020.
Funding has been made available through Oceans5, Waitt Institute, IUCN, Italian Government/SPAM project and VEPA.