An increase in marine life such as baby reef sharks has followed a coral planting program being undertaken by Outrigger Fiji Beach Resort as part of a wider Outrigger Resorts global OZONE (Outrigger’s ZONE) conservation initiative.
In Fiji, the program has seen coral propagation racks and fish houses built as part of a teenager guest activity program organized by the resort’s hosts.
The success of this coral planting has attracted the attention of the University of the South Pacific which this year will send 120 students studying marine science to observe the work being carried out at Outrigger Fiji.
The resort’s giant clam farm is also thriving. A favourite snorkelling destination for guests, it is helping to restore the health of the coral and boost fish numbers.
The United Nations has designated 2018 as the third International Year of the Reef.
The first official event held in Fiji as part of this year-long awareness campaign took place at Nukubati Resort, a Fijian-owned property which fronts the Great Sea Reef, the third-longest continuous barrier reef in the world.
“This is a global event of relevance to every single person on earth,” said Fiji’s Prime Minister, Hon. Josaia Voreqe Bainimarama, who attended the event.
“But it has a particular resonance for the Fijian people because of where we are today – on the edge of one of our most precious national assets, the Great Sea Reef or Cakaulevu Reef.
Mr Bainimarama emphasized the importance of protecting the world’s reefs and also announced that a significant portion of the Great Sea Reef had been nominated as a Ramsar site under the Convention on Wetlands, to help protect it from external threats.
A Ramsar site is designated under international treaty as a wetland important for the conservation of global biological diversity and for sustaining human life.
“We are engaged in a battle for the future of these reefs. We approved the nomination of large parts of the Great Sea Reef as a Ramsar site to protect it for future generations,” he said.
The Prime Minister also thanked the UN for choosing Fiji as the location from which it would highlight the state of the world’s reefs.
“I want to use this opportunity to reaffirm Fiji’s determination to continue to lead the global climate negotiations with absolute vigor, focus and commitment,” he said.
Erik Solheim, Head of UN Environment told the audience that 2018 was a “make or break year for the world’s coral reefs.”
“We have a short window when we can act, and the United Nations, WWF, and countries like Fiji are calling on the world to take the steps that will fix the problem this year,” he said.
Under its OZONE initiative, Outrigger Resorts participates in year-round global and local efforts with dozens of opportunities for marine education and conservation activities. Outrigger hosts put the company’s conservation mission into action by participating in green initiatives across local communities such as marine environment educational sessions, field trips to beaches, coastal wetlands and mangroves and beach clean ups.
Located on iconic beaches in Hawaii, Thailand, Guam, Fiji, Mauritius, and Maldives, Outrigger Resorts is dedicated to marine preservation and works year-round on a range of initiatives to generate awareness for the cause, as well as create opportunities for guests to help with the crucial marine ecosystems conservation.