Marine Atlas: Maximizing Benefits for Fiji
PLANNING The previous section on “Valuing” revealed the diversity and richness of Fiji’s biophysical features, the ecosystems they underpin, and the many goods and services they provide to Fiji. This section will look at how the many human uses of these values interact and how these uses can be planned.
More than 98 per cent of Fiji’s total jurisdiction is ocean. The ocean is vitally important to Fiji, providing food and income, coastal protection, carbon storage, and essential habitat for marine plants and animals. Furthermore, coasts and oceans are heavily intertwined with Fiji’s cultures, traditional knowledge and practices, while the economic, social and ecological benefits provid- ed by marine ecosystems are worth billions of dollars to Fijians every year. Despite the high value of the ocean to Fijians, to date, national development and conservation plan- ning has largely focused on land. However, recent studies show that better planning for oceans can bring significant economic, social and environmen- tal benefits. Marine Spatial Planning (MSP) can help Fiji realize and maintain these benefits.
• need to decide which marine spaces are most suitable for new or additional economic devel- opment activities such as tourism, deep-sea mining or mariculture • want to prioritize marine resource management efforts in parts of, or all, marine areas or • need a vision or scenarios of what marine areas could or should look like in another 10, 20 or 30 years. MSP can help address these issues. Similar to land-use planning but relating instead to the sea, it is a tool in the marine resource management toolbox that also includes input controls (e.g. on fishing effort), process controls (e.g. permits) and output controls (e.g. quotas). MSP is an intersectoral and participatory planning process that seeks to balance ecological, economic and social objectives, aiming for sustainable marine resource use and prosperous blue economies. The concept of MSP is not new and countries are already applying aspects of it, such as designated shipping lanes, fishing areas, locally managed marine areas (LMMAs), or marine protected areas (MPAs).
However, some of these existing examples have, at times, been declared opportunistically without an overarching and integrated planning process. When declared in isolation, individual spatial planning tools may not secure the ecosystem services that people rely on in the medium and long term. A more comprehensive and integrated MSP process can support and guide sectoral planning efforts, but does not replace sectoral planning. A more holistic MSP process will reduce the conflicts between the marine environment’s different users and uses, while maximizing the social, economic and ecolog- ical benefits people receive from the ocean. The maps in this chapter show how Fiji can plan the uses of the rich values its marine ecosystems provide, be it fishing, tourism, mining or vessel traffic. At the same time, MSP is also a powerful tool for avoiding conflicts and managing threats, such as marine debris, pollution or impacts from climate change, as featured in the maps..
MSP is most useful if countries:
• have (or expect) human activities that adversely affect biodiversity in marine areas • have (or expect) competing human activities within a given marine area
Further reading: www.macbio-pacific.info/ma- rine-spatial-planning
MAXIMIZING BENEFITS FOR FIJI
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