05 November 2005

New fish species found by divers in Fiji

A new species of fish has been discovered on Fiji's Great Sea Reef. The new species of damselfish (Pomacentrus sp.) was found during a 12-day expedition of the reefs by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) divers.

The WWF survey, run in conjunction with local and international experts and community members also recorded unique mangrove island habitats, several threatened species, including green turtles and spinner dolphins, as well as marine life not previously recorded in Fiji's waters.

Following the survey findings, local chiefs are launching the first of the country's networks of Marine Protected Areas on the Great Sea Reef, which include permanent 'tabu' zones, where no fishing or harvesting of other marine resources can take place.

"The Great Sea Reef, locally known as Cakaulevu, is globally important in terms of its biodiversity," said Etika Rupeni, country programme manager of WWF-Fiji. "Covering more than 200,000 sq km, the reef is home to thousands of marine species, many of them endemic and is an important fishing ground for local communities.

"Protecting the Great Sea Reef will ensure that one of our greatest assets remains intact and continues to be an important part of the traditions, culture and livelihoods of the people of Fiji."

Source: www.divemagazine.co.uk


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