Promoting Sustainable Resource Management and the Protection of Fiji's Environment Through Law
Fiji Environmental Law Association
Fiji has extended sovereignty over 130,450km2 of archipelagic waters and 45,000 km² of territorial waters. Fiji has sovereign rights over the resources in the EEZ, an area beyond archipelagic baselines totalling 1.29 million km2. Fiji’s oceans provide opportunities for future developments alongside obligations for its sustainable use. This scoping paper considers the question of whether Fiji should develop an IOM policy and if so how such a policy should be developed. An Integrated ocean management (IOM) policy is a national strategic policy document that provides for a ‘planned system- wide approach to ocean management. This paper was also provided to the parties involved in the development of an Ocean Framework leading up to the UN Ocean Conference which was co-presided by Fiji in June, 2017.
This IOM Scoping paper:
The sustainable management of Fiji's fisheries is critical to Fiji's future. Inshore fisheries are of particular importance as they are central to the food security and livelihoods of most coastal communities. Despite this, the management and regulation of inshore (or coastal) fisheries has not kept pace with the growing threats.
This paper forms part of Fiji Environmental Law Association's submission to Fiji's National Fisheries Policy stakeholder consultations. The preparation of the paper has also been endorsed by the Fiji National Protected Areas Committee.
FELA congratulates the Government of Fiji and the Ministry of Fisheries for their work in progressing the National Fisheries Policy (the Policy) and welcomes the opportunity to make written submissions in relation to the development of the Policy.
Given FELA’s specific expertise, FELA’s submissions are largely focussed on policy and law issues related to inshore fisheries.
This submission provides a high level analysis of key law and policy issues. In addition to this document, FELA’s submission comprises the attached paper titled “Regulating Fiji’s Coastal Fisheries – Policy and Law Discussion Paper” (FELA’s Discussion Paper). This paper outlines in more detail FELA’s policy and law recommendations for strengthening inshore fisheries management in Fiji.
Marine protected areas (MPAs) have been one of the greatest tools used in protecting the oceans and its natural resources. Fiji is committed towards protecting at least 30% of its marine areas using comprehensive, ecologically representative networks of MPAs. The purpose of this paper is to support the development of a comprehensive legal framework for the establishment and management of an effective network of MPAs in Fiji which is based on science and suited to the Fiji context. This paper was developed recognising that in order for Fiji to establish a comprehensive and ecologically representative network of MPAs it must have in place a suitable legal framework to support it.
Key findings in this paper reveal that even though existing MPA mechanisms have notable strengths they are deficient in a number of respects and do not adequately form a comprehensive legal framework for establishing and managing MPAs. The paper further summarizes key strengths and weaknesses of the existing MPA mechanisms and provides options for law reform and a pathway forward towards a clear road map for MPAs.
Although all species of turtles are protected by the Turtle Moratorium, 5 turtle species found in Fiji waters, namely the Green Turtle, Leatherback Turtle, Loggerhead Turtle, Hawksbill Turtle and the Olive Ridley Turtle are listed as "Species Threatened with Extinction" under the Convention on the International Trade of Endangered and Protected Species (CITES). Under its obligations to CITES, the Fiji Government enacted the Endangered and Protected Species Act (EPS) in 2002, providing additional protection to these turtle species.
Despite the protection of turtles under CITES and the laws of Fiji, turtles, turtle eggs and their derivatives continue to be harvested, sold and consumed illegally. One of the commonly observed reasons for this is the lack of enforcement of the Turtle moratorium, Fisheries Act and the EPS.
In response to the gap in enforcement, the Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA), after consultation with partners World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF), the Department of Fisheries, the Office of the Director of Public Prosecutions (ODPP) and the Department of Environment help ensure the continued survival of all turtle species in Fiji waters.
This Handbook provides details of relevant laws protecting turtles, offences, penalties and guidance on investigative procedures and information on turtle species that will assist authorised enforcement officers and enforcement agencies to strengthen turtle protection in Fiji.
Saving Sea Turtles in Fiji: A Guide for Law Enforcement is available at the University of the South Pacific Book Center. For further information on how you can get a copy of this enforcement guide, please contact us.
The ICCA Consortium conducted two studies from 2011 to 2012. The first is a Legal Review that analyses the interaction between ICCA's and international and national laws, judgements, and institutional frameworks. The second is a Recognition Study that considers various legal, administrative, social, and other ways of recognising and supporting ICCA's. This report is a part of the legal review and focuses on Fiji.