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Equator Initiative Case Study - Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network

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The community of Ucunivanua on the eastern coast of Fiji’s largest island was the site of the first locally managed marine area (LMMA) in Fiji in 1997. Scientists from the University of the South Pacific supported environmentalists and local villagers in declaring a ban on harvesting within a stretch of inshore waters for three years, building on the tradition of taboo prohibitions for certain species. After seven years of local management, the clam populations had rebounded and village incomes had risen significantly with increased harvests.
The success of the Ucunivanua LMMA spread rapidly, and a support network – the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network – grew from this. By 2009, the network had increased to include some 250 LMMAs, covering some 10,745 square kilometres of coastal fisheries, or more than 25% of Fiji’s inshore area. The network has also inspired replication in countries across the Pacific. The Equator Initiative brings together the United Nations, governments, civil society, businesses and grassroots organizations to recognize and advance local sustainable development solutions for people, nature and resilient communities. As local and indigenous groups across the world chart a path towards sustainable development, the Equator Prize--issued biennially by the Equator Initiative--shines a spotlight on their efforts by honoring them on an international stage. This project was awarded the Equator Prize in recognition of its contribution to local sustainable development solutions.

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