“Imagine ecosystems built up over millions of years gone within the space of a generation. It cannot happen. It must not happen.”
This was stressed by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama while launching the International Year of the Reef 2018 in Nukubati Island, Vanua Levu.
Nukubati Island is the home of the third longest continuous barrier reef in the world, the Great Sea Reef or Cakaulevu Reef.
Bainimarama also pointed out that as the Great Reef twists and turns its way across the seas of western Fiji, it takes on different local names but is part of one great system that according to a World Wildlife Fund survey, is home to 55% of the known coral reef fish in Fiji, 74% of our known corals and 40% of all the known marine flora and fauna in our 332 islands.
The Prime Minister highlighted that cabinet has taken an important step in protecting this Great Sea Reef.
He says that government has approved the nomination of a significant part of the Reef as a Ramsar site under the Convention on Wetlands, ensuring its management and protection for future generations adding that he looks forward to returning in the near future to formally launch this initiative.
Bainimarama says that with the dramatic increase in coral bleaching caused by climate change, the plastic pollution of our oceans and other forms of human abuse such as overfishing, it is a shocking fact that our generation could be among the last to witness the beauty of our reefs and benefit from their bounty.
He says that he wants to use this opportunity as COP President and as the new year begins to reaffirm Fiji's determination to continue to lead the global climate negotiations with absolute vigour, focus and commitment.
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