Comprised of 333 tropical islands surrounded by dazzling turquoise waters, Fiji is one of the world’s most spectacular tropical paradises. While it may seem far removed from the industrialized world, it is not safe from modern-day environmental perils. Considering oceans cover more than 70% of the earth’s surface, though less than 4% of these waters are fully protected, places like Fiji are particularly concerned by the worsening conditions of their ecosystems. Some locals, like our local experts at Vatuvara Private Islands, are taking matters into their own hands by embarking in grassroots efforts. Krystel Gough of Vatuvara Private Islands tells us more about this important issue and the initiatives they are undertaking to make a difference.
Vatuvara Private Islands is nestled in the northern Lau group of Fijian Islands. The islands of Vatuvara, Kaibu and Yacata islands are filled with a diversity of wildlife, including the unique and endangered Coconut Crab. These remote islands are an awe-inspiring destination filled with lush forests and bordered by spectacular beaches and azure waters.
The all-inclusive resort is only accessible by private plane, granting guests the ultimate private escape where they can switch off from the rest of the world. In addition, the resort only has three one-bedroom villas, therefore, it’s virtually a private experience (exclusive buyouts are also possible). Each spacious villa has been designed to incorporate local character and its natural surroundings. They include luxurious appointments and have private infinity pool.
As beautiful as it is, Fiji is seriously threatened by climate change, overfishing, local human population growth and increased demand, threats to marine turtles and the coconut crab as well as the failure to enforce regulations. In 2015, stemming from this growing list of dangers, the Fijian government set a target of placing 30% of its waters under protected status by 2020. This has provided a positive platform of support for environmental initiatives.
However, unexpected challenges do arise which can thwart local efforts and aggravate the situation as a whole, such as the Category 5 Tropical Cyclone Winston which hit the archipelago in February 2016. It was the strongest tropical cyclone on record in the Southern Hemisphere. Despite the terrifying devastation left behind – the resilience, beauty, and strength of Fiji has been amazing. That said it did underline that anthropogenic climate change is a reality and island nations are the first victims.
“Vatuvara is resolutely committed to bolstering ocean preservation by taking local action,” says Krystel. “Small changes can collectively make a huge impact on our world. As such, we are striving to provide innovative opportunities to engage and educate ocean users, such as Fiji’s rural island communities with the world beneath the waves and to understand their personal opportunity to protect the planet.”
The team at Vatuvara Private Islands is making long-term commitments to self-sustain their surrounding islands and to encourage healthy and resilient oceans through empowering communities to be responsible stewards of their marine resources. They have a variety of local education projects. One of these involves strengthening awareness in local communities especially by addressing livelihood needs through programs for rural women. They are also involving islands’ youth by connecting children to their beaches and the ocean, helping them realize the impact their actions have on the ocean.
“Children are the future and if they can become the voices of the ocean, they will convert into teachers to the world and successfully raise awareness,” notes Krystel sagely.
The staff at Vatuvara Private Island work carefully with all guests to design a bespoke holiday on the island which can include various wellbeing and cultural experiences in addition to a number different community interactions. You can learn more about this unique resort and their commitment to protecting the world’s oceans by contacting Krystel and her team here.