Promoting Sustainable Resource Management and the Protection of Fiji's Environment Through Law

Fiji Environmental Law Association

The Fiji Environmental Law Association welcomes its new member of the team, Ms Patricia Parkinson. Patricia joins FELA as a part of the Australian Volunteer for International Development (AVID) Program. She is a French-Australian environmental law specialist with a wealth of experience, having previously worked with the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) as a senior environmental legal officer. She will be based with FELA for a year where she will focus on building staff capacity. Patricia is a valuable addition to FELA and we look forward to working with her.

"fiji should set up action to protect human rights from environmental risks"

Throughout the two-day forum, participants engaged in both vigorous academic and policy discussion – based on FELA and the Environmental Defenders Office – New South Wales (EDONSW)’s recently published discussion and scoping papers – as well as a practical site-visit to a Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Serua Island organised by the Fiji Locally Marine Managed Association (FLMMA), provided a full-rounded perspective on the multi-disciplinary and synergetic forces shaping the development of marine management law and policy. 

The Update Forum was opened by a positive key-note from the Chief Guest, Fiji’s Director of Fisheries, Mr. Aisake Batibasaga who outlined the stewardship Fiji has been playing at the global level in combatting the effects of climate change and ensuring the sound and sustainable management of our shared oceans. Mr. Batibasaga highlighted the synergetic and active roles played by both public and private networks: from the University of the South Pacific’s institutional capacity commitments to conduct marine research and transfer technology research, to the active participation of conservation NGOs in the marine sector. 

A clear over-arching theme arose from the two days of policy and law discussions: ultimately, it all comes down to communities coming to a consensus on best-practice oceans and coastal marine management. While there is general consensus from all actors in the environmental management and conservation sector that collaborative sectoral efforts is needed to achieve Fiji’s marine coastal management visions, further efforts are required to ensure efficacious and thorough engagement with communities. Ensuring that conservation approaches are flexibly designed and open to adaptation based on local socio-cultural features, and developing policy and legislation such that it is conducive to grassroots local management efforts will be pivotal to the long-term sustainability of Fiji’s oceans and coastal marine management efforts. 

FELA stakeholder consultation and workshop



Gina Zheng

The Fiji Environmental Law Association in collaboration with the University of the South Pacific - Institute of Applied Science (team) conducted a 3 day training on Fiji's Environment Management Act (EMA) with particular focus on the Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) and gravel extraction.

Representatives from Government Departments including Department of Environment, Fisheries, Police, Rural Local Authority, Provincial Office, Community chiefs and leaders, women and youth attended the training that was designed to create legal awareness on EMA and the EIA process 

Participants were also given a glimpse of the work of fisheries enforcement officers during land patrol before being taken to Nausori Agro Market to learn more about the production and sale of locally produced foods (including fish). The site visit concluded with a lunch and cocktail at the Fiji Club. #FELA2016 #CoastalFisheriesManagement #LegalDevelopmentForum

and its relevance to development activities, particularly gravel extraction and mining, clarify the roles and responsibilities of the authorized agencies and enforcement officers in the EIA process, create awareness on compliance procedures of EMA and the EIA process and practical application and understanding of the process through site visitation to existing development projects.

The 3 day workshop entailed interactive presentations (by the Department of Environment, Ra Provincial Council, Forest, Ra Rural Local Authority, FELA and presentations by the participants of various groups. The training also entailed a site visit to the Golden Point Resort, a recently approved coastal development i.e. hotel featuring dramatic changes to the coastal area, removal of mangroves and building of artificial features including trenches and man-made lagoon. Participants were given the opportunity to raise questions to the managing director on the EIA process, length of time taken to receive approvals, qoliqoli compensation and access to fishing areas post compensation.

un special rapporteur press release

FELA hosted a 3 day Fisheries Forum at the Tanoa Plaza Hotel in Suva. The purpose of the forum is to facilitate legal discussion amongst relevant stakeholders on existing legal tools and mechanisms that can contribute to effient fisheries management, identify gaps/loopholes and challenges and look at practical legal solutions to address the gaps. Day 1 of the Legal Forum saw a wide range of issues raised, generating lively exchanges between participants and the facilitators. #FELA2016 #CoastalFisheriesManagement #LegalDevelopmentForum








FELA attended a 2 day workshop hosted by the US Embassy on Effective Digital and Social Media Strategies for Non Profits Organisations. The workshop was conducted by the Communications Specialist from the University of Illinois, Chicago, Mr Richard O’Rourke.

The workshop was also attended by communications and public relations officers from other NGOs and Government Departments determined to learn how to better utilize various communications tools and social media to attain communications goals.

FELA WELCOME ncp scholarship intern 

gina zheng

FELA launched its first publication of the Turtle Enforcement Toolkit titled, “Saving Sea Turtles: A Guide for Law Enforcement" on the 28th of August at the Holiday Inn, Suva.

The Turtle Enforcement Toolkit is designed to  improve enforcement of Turtle breaches in Fiji. Designed to give its readers a simple and clear outline of the laws in place regarding sea turtles, the enforcement authorities protecting the species and tips for enforcement authorities with regards to dealing with infringements. The Enforcement Guide introduces its readers to 2 main domestic laws in Fiji protecting turtles and identifies all the criminal offences, provides tips for investigation, defines roles of enforcement officers and their responsibilities.  

This exciting event was well attended by members of the Department of Fisheries, the Acting Commissioner of Police, Representative of the DPP members of various NGOs and members of the Public.

The Turtle Enforcement Toolkit is currently being translated in the iTaukei language .and Copies of the English and iTaukei versions will be  is available for purchase at the USP Book Center and FELA Office shortly.

The Fiji Environmental Law Association welcomes International Intern, Ms Gina Zheng. Gina joins FELA under the New Colombo Plan Scholarship, an initiative under the Australian Government which aims to lift knowledge of the Indo-Pacific in Australia by supporting Australian undergraduates to study and undertake internships in the region. 

"When I was awarded the fellowship, I knew immediately that this was a chance to pursue my passions in sustainable development in the Pacific region, and fast-track opportunities to engage with both the sector and region. Where used correctly, the law can play such a powerful tool in the world of environmental management and sustainable development. As such, I chose to pursue an internship with FELA, as a reputable legal organisation leading policy work on the efficacious use of the law to not only protect the environment, but also build capacity within local communities to pursue sustainable objectives". 

FELA’s Marine Management Law and Policy Discussion Forum was held from Thursday 25 February to Friday 26 February 2018 at the Holiday Inn, Suva, Fiji and included a site-visit to Serua Island, co-organised with FLMMA. It was the first of a FELA’s series of marine fisheries law and policy forum discussions for 2018, and focussed on FELA and EDONSW’s latest discussion and scoping papers. For more information on the papers, see here. ​

​FELA’s first Update Forum for the year brought together a diverse range of participants: representatives from the Government of Fiji’s Ministry of Lands and Ministry of Mineral Resources, University of South Pacific, World Wide Fun and the Pacific Islands Forums were in attendance. At the conclusion of the Update Forum, it was clear that the insights arising out of policy discussions and practical site-visits were just the tip of the ice-berg, and ongoing cross-institutional and sectorial engagement will be needed to support Fiji’s achievement of its coastal marine management and sustainability visions. If you would like to stay up-to-date about FELA’s upcoming Update Forums, click here.

Marine Management law and policy forum 2018

At the end of an official visit to Fiji, the UN Special Rapporteur on human rights and the environment, David R. Boyd, said the island nation was acutely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change and associated natural disasters, through no fault of its own, and richer countries should rapidly ramp up financial assistance.

Last week I had the pleasure of attending the Fiji Environmental Law Association’s (FELA) first Update Forum on marine management law and policy for 2018, which posed the following question to the forum attendants: in the context of the latest national and regional law and policy developments, what is at stake for Fiji’s sustainable management of marine resources?

Throughout the two-day forum, participants engaged in both vigorous academic and policy discussion – based on FELA and the Environmental Defenders Office – New South Wales (EDONSW)’s recently published discussion and scoping papers – as well as a practical site-visit to a Marine Protected Area (MPA) at Serua Island organised by the Fiji Locally Marine Managed Association (FLMMA), provided a full-rounded perspective on the multi-disciplinary and synergetic forces shaping the development of marine management law and policy. 




The Ministry of Fisheries continues to protect Turtles under Regulation 5 of the Offshore Fisheries Management Decree 2014.

A Public Notice released on 26th January, 2019 bans the harvest, sale, possession and transport of sea Turtles, their eggs or any part or product.  Members of the public are advised that a breach of the regulation 5 of the OFMD may result in criminal charges with penalties  from $10,000 to $50,000 for individuals and  for Corporations - $20,000 to $100,000.  

Hefty Penalties for Breach of Turtle Regulations!