Pearls of the Ocean to protect

Fiji islands: the necklace of the ocean

Fiji’s Exclusive Economic Zone is 70% larger than its landmass and is ranked the 26th largest sovereign ocean space in the world. The government of the Fiji Islands is part of the major program for the decarbonization of maritime transport, with an ambitious action to transform its national fleet.

A program that is still in its beginning, with a call for proposals supported by the UNDP. “The policy direction for this sectoral focus is to transition Fiji’s maritime transport sector to renewable energy solutions as opposed to the current dependence on high density diesel”. The approach is based on an in-depth analysis and an openness to a program that combines many aspects of the question of changing a thermo-industrial economy towards a sustainable future.

The challenge is open? or Tomorrow is 500m away !?

The gap between dream, project and reality leaves space for creativity in the face of differences between ways of thinking and acting on the world around us. A whole ecosystem approach.

The direction of the wind

… that carries us, Sail for Ethics, I was interested in the history of navigation in this world made up of ocean, island worlds and territorial immensity.

Fijians and the Pacific Islanders’ relationship with seafaring has long been based on local skills and impressive craftsmanship that baffles other maritime cultures.

Community engagement with the maritime territory relies on local structures such as the Locally Managed Marine Area (LMMA)

Small but essential actions to protect and grow corals protecting Fiji’s coral coast with the Namada’s Armada action of coral reef NGO.

Maldives halfwater

Underwater treasures that need to regain their vitality, corals fear chemical sunscreens, if only one action on your part can change things: start there. Changing sunscreen…

The government has long-term objectives that will decarbonize the local fleet, by means that will be studied to find the best formula. In 2021, Minister for Economy, Aiyaz Sayed-Khaiyum has announced Fiji’s intention to issue the first Blue Bond in the Pacific in 2022 to help raise funds for a program of cutting-edge sustainable ocean-oriented projects.

In the meantime, I caught a little wind in the sails and went to see what happens when you float in these turquoise waters that make the rest of the world dream.

Na Vuku Makawa ni Qoli

Na Vuku Makawa ni Qoli: Indigenous Fishing Knowledge (IFK) in Fiji and the Pacific is en danger, “this time-depth inter-generationally transmitted oral knowledge is, however, seriously threatened” says some international and local researchers from School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Sciences, The University of the South Pacific, Suva, Fiji. Where we can have a look of the whole concept and interdependance of the local/global ecosystem.

Sketch of Fijian outrigger canoe with lateen sail, date not given, by Ethel Richardson. Te Papa

The beauty of the indigenous ship is breathtaking: the monodrome or ampfhidrome canoes all showcase original knowledge and techniques.

One of these canoes Ra Marama (the princess) measured 34m, in 1875… could’nt find any picture of it…European navigators used it as a model for a European ketch

How to navigate ?

The gap is as different as tacking in a sailing canoe and tacking in a European ship.

But the direction of the wind is the same. Even if the wind always blows, here we give it a name that speaks of action: ‘Where we struggle‘ is the SE “Ceua I cake” or West “Tokalaulutu” “Which falls”. The ocean and wind, here, are active not passiv, the relationship and the action are essential.

Traditionally the Fijians have three points in their compass while the Europeans have 4. The polar directions are expressed differently, in this universe of infinite nocturnal stars.

Neyret Jean-Marie. Notes sur la navigation indigène aux îles Fidji. In: Journal de la Société des océaniste

Tomorrow is at your right at one hand !

The relation beetwen past, present and future is permeable, the relationship between past present and future is not watertight. Like this “Dialogue on Traditional Knowledge for Biodiversity and Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) in the Pacific30 May -1st June 2022 | Grand Pacific Hotel, Suva

Boundaries are as much time as space. The day change line is next to it… this change the mind.

The Little Prince of Saint Exupéry moved his chair on his little planet to see the sun go down several times. Here, we take to the sea and change the day, or else, we stay between the two, so this notion of time becomes a simple concept. Here Monday, there Tuesday?

Question of seeing the sea and catch the wind

The vacuum is more present than the full, the liquid more than the solid, silence more than noise.

In any case, it is the ocean which remains immense and the horizon in the distance !

How to reach it, how and with whom, that’s the whole question. The project of decarbonisation of the fleet is one of this choice. With circular, local economy empowering the community, or in the same path as the recent past ? The near future will tell.

Neyret Jean-Marie. Notes sur la navigation indigène aux îles Fidji. In: Journal de la Société des océanistes, tome 6, 1950. pp. 5-31.

K. E. Larson, Fijian Studies Claude Lévi-StraussHomme Année 1961 1-2 p. 138

Na Vuku Makawa ni Qoli: Indigenous Fishing Knowledge (IFK) in Fiji and the Pacific Salanieta Kitolelei1*, Randy Thaman1, Joeli Veitayaki1, Annette Breckwoldt2 and Susanna Piovano1