RNZ News (Wellington, New Zealand) A successful pilot project helping to restore marine biodiversity and the declining ecosystems in a Tongan lagoon will be used in 14 other Pacific Island countries.
The 3-year Ridge to Reef project is helping to restore the coastal area of the Fanga'uta Lagoon Catchment which encompasses around 40,000 people.
The lagoon's once rich diversity of marine species and coastal vegetation has been destroyed over the years by climate change, poor sustainable management and waste dumping.
Project Manager Ta'hirih Fifita Hokafonu said building partnerships with the lagoon's 26 surrounding villages has been key.
"We have built capacity of the local people that when the project does pass on, the transfer of knowledge is sustained," she said.
"Positive relationship building is key so that we have complete support and assistance from all groups."