The Park is managed through a number of “zones” and best practice “management rules.”
There are two zones are designated for the Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park covering both marine and terrestrial environments.
Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Management Plan
The Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Management Plan establishes the vision, strategies and framework for sustainably managing Vatu Island (known also as Vatu-i-Ra Island), the surrounding customary fishing grounds i qoliqoli Cokovata Nakorotubu, and adjacent deeper waters.
The management plan seeks to promote a holistic ecosystem-based management approach to managing terrestrial and marine ecosystems, and reflects both communities and private sector needs and aspirations for the area.
Ecosystem-based management (EBM) is an integrated approach to management that considers the entire ecosystem, including humans.
The management plan puts in place strategies and actions to ensure that the ecosystems are and remain healthy, productive and resilient to future change, to ensure the resources are there for communities and local stakeholders today and in the future.
The management plan incorporates data and information from previous studies and a resource management plan produced by BirdLife International and Nature Fiji-MareqetiViti in 2010.
Green Zone (No Take)
The marine GREEN ZONE is a no-take marine zone which aims to protect the unique marine biodiversity of the area, while allowing for dive tourism and non-destructive research. Collecting any living or non-living resources (including dead coral, shells, sand, rock, rubble etc.) is strictly prohibited. Low impact activities such as swimming, snorkelling, diving and boating are allowed.
The land-based GREEN ZONE encompasses Vatu-i-Ra Island in its entirety, down to the low water mark is a no-take terrestrial zone. A permit is required to land on the island. No extractive activities can occur on the island, including the collecting of any living or non-living materials. Disturbance of birds in prohibited and biosecurity protocols must be strictly adhered to, to prevent the introduction of invasive species onto the island. Access to the island is only permitted with the approval of the Management Committee and traditional owners of the island.
Yellow Zone (Catch & Release)
T he YELLOW ZONE is a sustainable fishing ‘catch-and-release’ zone that aims to support low impact, non-extractive fishing, through a catch-and-release system.
Conservation Park Boundary
The Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park encompasses an existing conservation area established by communities since 2011, within the Nakorotubu District and covers an area of 110.5 square kilometres.
The boundary of the Conservation Park is defined by the GPS coordinates provided in Table 1.
Table 1. The GPS coordinates for the outer boundaries of the Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park
|A||North Eastern Point||-17.273321°S, 178.494905°E|
|B||South Eastern Point||-17.392150°S, 178.392150°E|
|C||South Western Point||-17.429743°S, 178.484128°E|
|D||Mid-Western Point 1||-17.349274°S, 178.419012°E|
|E||Mid-Western Point 2||-17.343736°S, 178.418719°E|
|F||North Western Point||17.273570°S, 178.461057°E|
The northern boundary lies 500 m north of the oundary of the Nakorotubu District, and the southern boundary follows the boundary of the Burewai and Kavula Subdistrict.
The eastern boundary extends 500 m east of the Nokorotubu District boundary.
This Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Management Plan aims to support long-term sustainable development in Nakorotubu by maintaining the health and productivity of the district’s ecosystems.
To promote the conservation of this unique area, the local communities in the district of Nakorotubu have formed a partnership with the local tourism operators to establish a voluntary contribution to conservation scheme, to support the long-term management of the Conservation Park and generate income for local communities.
All income generated is managed by a Board of Trustees responsible for implementing the Deed of Trust agreement.
Use of funding
All funds generated through a voluntary contribution to conservation system will be used to support activities endorsed by the Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park Management Committee and Board of Trustees.
Funding will be used for the following:
- Education grants for students within Yavusa Nagilogilo (40%);
- Education grants for students from Qoliqoli Cokovata Nakorotubu (30%); and
- Management of Vatu-i-Ra Conservation Park (30%);
Professional, transparent accounting and reporting is needed to ensure efficient and equitable use of funds, and to support sustainable resource management and community development.