FIJI - The Vanua o Laucala Trust has announced the development of aquaculture in the Northern Division around the islands of Laucala, Qamea, Matagi,Yanuca and other small reefs surrounding Laucala Island in Taveuni such as, Motui Lailai, Motui Levu and Cakau Lavalava.
These islands offer exceptional sustainable development potential in pearl oyster spat collecting, giant clam ranching, baby clams (kaikoso), seaweed (lumi) and sea grape (Nama) farming.
The Vanua o Laucala Trust is the legal body representing the three yavusa (sub-clan), namely Nasovu, Qaraniya'u and Naqelelevu in which representatives of each yavusa make up the Vanua o Laucala Trust, reports the FijiTimes.
One of the roles of the trust is to work with any investor who wants to use the iqoliqoli (traditional fishing ground) for development purposes.
The trust oversees one of the best qoliqoli areas in Fiji.
Chairman of the Vanua o Laucala Trust, Jone Fifita said they had been successfully doing pearl oyster spat collecting for the past two years.
"This project had started very slow with the help from the Fisheries Department and is now growing out by itself," Mr Fifita said.
He said with their giant clam hatchery building on Qamea Island nearing its completion, they were excited with the potential it offered their people.
"Partnering with private companies that want to develop the resource in a sustainable manner with us is the way forward. Our partners have very good knowledge and are willing to share their expertise to benefit all," Mr Fifita said.
He said they we're custodians of this resource and must, for the sake of their children, develop it while protecting it.
"Aquaculture is a solution where we not only take from the sea, aquaculture is a solution where we plant, develop and harvest in a sustainable manner," Mr. Fifita said.
Board member of the Vanua Trust o Laucala, Jona Nawaqavou, said they had to break the handout mentality.
"We have to start taking our future in our own hands. We have to learn to build our own successful ventures," Mr. Nawaqavou said.
He said aquaculture offered great potential for them because these resources were naturally available and should be maximised to its potential for their future.
"If we teach our people how to run the business and develop it to become a sustainable development for us, then we would become independent rather than relying on others," Mr Nawaqavou said.
He said they were excited about friends who saw the potential in their resources and had come forward to help them develop it to benefit their children now and in future.
Mr Nawaqavou said markets targeted for these commodities were the aquarium trade, reef rehabilitation market, and high-end foodies market, decoration shell market for export and in shore markets, handicraft, pearl farming and pharmaceuticals.
TheFishSite News Desk