Suva, FIJI – May 21, 2020 (FIJI TIMES): Fiji’s ocean resources generate about $2.5 billion (US$1.1 billion) worth of economic activity annually, according to the recently-released National Ocean Policy.
The policy, prepared using data from a 2014 Marine Ecosystem Service Valuation report, said marine-related tourism contributed about $1.2 billion (US$531 million) to the national economy each year.
The remainder was based on the value of fishing, commercial food harvesting, mineral and marine aggregate mining, coastal protection, carbon sequestration, and research and education that came out of the ocean.
The policy was developed under the guidance of the Economy Ministry with support from the World Bank and “strives to support, promote and improve effectiveness of ongoing practices being implemented by the Fiji Government and all other actors and institutions that are committed to ensuring a healthy future for the ocean”.
“The report estimated the national value of these seven environmental services at around $2.5 billion per year.
“Marine-related tourism represented nearly half of this total ecosystem service value at $1.2 billion per year.”
Subsistence food provision from inshore fisheries and coastal resources was valued at $59 million (US$26.1 million) per year, according to the policy.
Small-scale inshore commercial fisheries produced a total national value of up to $54 million (US$23.8 million) while commercial offshore fisheries, primarily based on albacore tuna harvest, produced a total net value of $20 million (US$10 million) per year.
“Identifying the economic value of marine and coastal ecosystems and taking these findings into account in national planning processes, assists government to create incentives for more effective protection and sustainable use of living marine resources.
“This, in turn, helps to sustain the benefits that people derive from marine and coastal ecosystems.”
Meanwhile, Fiji aims to fully control its 1,290,000 kilometre exclusive economic zone (EEZ) by 2030, says a newly-released National Ocean Policy.
“The policy frames a progression to the integrated management of Fiji’s entire EEZ by 2030, to ensure the resilience and sustainability of marine ecosystems while maximising opportunities for socio-economic benefits,” the policy stated.
The vision of the policy read it was focused on “a healthy ocean that sustains the livelihoods and aspirations of current and future generations of Fiji”.
“To secure and sustainably manage all of Fiji’s marine resources” was stated as the mission of the policy.
The policy stated if Fiji successfully marries traditional knowledge with modern technology, it could improve economic opportunities while, at the same time, ensure a healthy environment.
According to the policy, modernisation was having an adverse effect on Fijians’ close relationship with their environment.
The policy stated Fiji was trying to combine traditional, environmentally centred knowledge with modern technology and resource-management arrangements to put the country on a pathway towards sustainable development.
“If realised, this pathway would allow Fijians to both improve their economic livelihoods and wellbeing and ensure a vibrant, healthy environment,” the policy read.
“Fiji has set out actions to mitigate national emissions, included in its Nationally Determined Contribution, Low Emission Development Strategy and National Climate Change Policy.”
According to the policy, climate change would have “manifest impacts to the ocean and coastal systems”.
“The Fijian Government, in partnership with civil society, has undertaken concrete actions over the last decade and across a range of sectors to foster conservation and sustainable use of marine resources.”