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La Jolla, California |  info@waittinstitute.org |  (858) 551-4443

VAVA'U OCEAN INITIATIVE (VOI) is a partnership between the Government of Tonga, the Waitt Institute, and the Vava’u Environmental Protection Association (VEPA).

 

Our goals are to support fisheries management, sustainable ocean planning, and conserve biodiversity while allowing for sustainable economic development. The Initiative launched in April 2017 and has three focal areas: creating a sustainable ocean plan through Marine Spatial Planning (MSP), creating Special Management Areas (SMAs) for community fisheries, and supporting scientific research.

FROM THE FIELD
Timeline

Government of Tonga & Waitt Institute Sign a Memorandum of Understanding in May 2017 that launches the Vava'u Ocean Initiative.

Waitt Institute performs a Scientific Assessment of Vava'u's nearshore marine environment. 

In June 2018, a new Special Management Area (SMA) site is designated. SMAs are designated protected ocean areas to allow for community management of near-shore resources as a long-term strategy to achieve environmental sustainability and economic stability in Tonga. To-date, ten communities have participated in Tonga’s SMA program, including Taunga, Koloa, ‘Utungake, Ofu,’Ovaka, ‘Utulei, Hunga, Lape, Falevai and Talihau.

 

The Vava'u Ocean Initiative supports the SMA confirmation meetings and development in Holeva, Noapapu, and Kapa. The Initiative will continue to provide on going support to ‘Ovaka and Taunga.

 

The Vava'u Ocean Initiative collects socio-economic data for Holeva and Kapa, as well as conducting community consultations to understand local ocean uses and priorities for Marine Spatial Planning. 

Coastal Community Management Plans are drafted for Holeva and Kapa.

SMA presentations delivered to the Ministry of Tourism in Vava'u.

2017

2018

REPORTS & RESOURCES
POLICY DOCUMENTS & REGULATIONS

Reports coming soon. 

SCIENTIFIC & TECHNICAL REPORTS

Reports coming soon. 

THE NEXT
GENERATION

EDUCATING FUTURE

OCEAN LEADERS

KAREN STONE

As Founder and Executive Director of VEPA (Vava'u Environmental Protection Association) and key partner for Vava'u Ocean Initiative she focuses on working with the communities and government to create Special Management Areas and Marine Spatial Plans across Tonga. She has been living in Vava'u for 12 years.

 

ABOUT VAVA'U

Location:

Island:

Population:

Exclusive Economic Zone:

Threats to Ecosystem:

How Our Work Addresses These Threats

 

South Pacific

40 limestone islands

13,740 people in 39 communities

700,000 square kilometers

Overfishing

Mangrove deforestation 

Crown of thorns starfish

Coral Bleaching

By conducting ongoing scientific monitoring, establishing community managed protected areas and fishing regulations, and marine spatial plans we are addressing the main threats to Tonga's marine ecosystems.

 

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