Niue’s Government is to establish a Marine Protected Area (MPA) covering 40% of the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ).
The 127,000-square kilometer MPA includes much of the waters around Niue itself as well as nearby Beveridge Reef, an uninhabited, semi-submerged atoll that has the largest density of grey reef sharks in the world
The formation of the MPA, which was announced at the Our Ocean conference in Malta last month, is part of the Niue Ocean Wide (NOW) project, an initiative by the Niuean community to manage the island’s resources through a unique public-private partnership between the Niuean Government and a local non-profit organisation Tofia Niue.
Niue Premier Sir Toke Taulagi says his Government recognized the importance of taking action to safeguard the future of the island’s natural marine resources. “We need to invest for our future generations, so they can enjoy the bounties that we enjoyed and know that we cared about them.
“The Government of Niue is happy to support this project and we look forward to working with others who want to help us protect our resources.”
NOW Director Brendon Pasisi says the establishment of the MPA will “lock up” a proportion of its fishing resource for conservation and help reduce global over-fishing threatening fish stocks. “Giving up a proportion of commercial fisheries opportunities is the foundation of this commitment; it will help Niue safeguard the natural asset, build ecological resilience and allow the island to pursue more sustainable economic, social and environmental opportunities including achieving greater local food security and foster more blue tourism.
“After decades of contributing regionally to ocean conservation and management, and striving nationally to achieve sustainable development and management standards within our means, it’s no small feat for a tiny, developing island-state to make such a major contribution to ocean conservation.”
The announcement drew praise from National Geographic whose Pristine Seas operation took researchers and conservationists to the island last September, where they mapped the area including Beveridge Reef as one of 17 pristine natural sites in the world and carried out a comprehensive biodiversity assessment of the area.
12 October 2017