| || || Simpson, Ron.|
| || || Assessing MPA effectiveness through observing the relative abundances of community-selected indicator populations over time : a case study of the Korolevu-i-Wai qoliqoli on the coral coast, Fiji|
Institution: University of the South Pacific.
Call No.: pac In Process
Copyright:20-40% of this thesis may be copied without the authors written permission
Abstract: This study describes the results of an assessment of the effectiveness of communitybased Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) in the Korolevuiwai district in southwest Viti Levu, Fiji Islands, and the ability of community-selected indicator species to detect this change. Data were gathered on changes over time in the abundance of biological indicators, which included target fin-fishes, invertebrates and coral cover. The indicators were selected by the communities themselves because of their subsistence, commercial and ecological value. The study compared two datasets at two different levels. The first dataset was “baseline data” collected in 2004, whilst the second dataset was collected in 2007. The analyses of both datasets were conducted at two levels using the community-selected indicators and using the full-range of indicators within the datasets; both of which were collected between July and November during rising and high tides. Preliminary results show that the biological indicators provide valuable information for assessing the effectiveness of local MPAs. Common food fish such as emperors (Lethrinidae), snappers (Lutjanidae) and groupers (Serranidae) increased in numbers within the MPAs over the three-year study period, and herbivorous fishes like rabbitfishes (Siganidae) and surgeonfishes (Ancanthuridae) increased in both the MPAs and non-MPAs, which resulted in significant reduction in algal cover and a corresponding increase in live coral cover. The results have encouraged the local communities to increase their efforts to develop management plans and strengthen village governance related to fisheries management. The studies also show that the community-selected biological indicators were sensitive and robust enough to be able to indicate changes taking place for evaluating the effectiveness of village MPAs.The MPAs of Korolevu-i-wai have proven to be an effective tool for managing marine resources and protecting natural wealth for future livelihoods. This goal however cannot be accomplished without proper management objectives, monitoring and evaluations. Consistent assessment of this work would equip local communities with adequate qualitative and quantitative knowledge of their marine resources, and therefore enable them to evaluate and respond to the ecological changes taking place in their qoliqoli (traditional fishing ground or an area of sea where customary native fishing rights exist).