Niue, the world’s largest atoll becomes part of the Pristine Seas project
Niueans on the “Rock” are excited about being part of the global Pristine Seas initiative which aims to help “protect some of the last wild places in the world’s ocean”
Niue’s Minister for Natural Resources, Billy Talagi, is widely acknowledged as the driving force behind the Niue arm project. [restrict]
“It’s very exciting for all of us in Niue and big thank you to Minister Billy Talagi…and may other folks who have helped to make this happen,” according to Coral Pasisi, a resident on Niue.
For the project team, “These pristine places are unknown by all but long-distance fishing fleets, which have started to encroach on them. It is essential that we let the world know that these places exist, that they are threatened, and that they deserve to be protected,” according to one of their first blog posts.
They also recognised that one of the key reasons for Niue’s waters remaining in their pristine condition is the traditional ocean management practice and guardianship of Niue’s people.
“The community have been caring for their ocean through generations—these traditions and careful management practices mean that these waters are in excellent condition.
“In addition to understanding their own waters so well, Niue’s people are a key partner in world ocean management leadership issues helping to underscore their well-informed global ocean perspective.
“As Niue looks to the future of its seas, more information is needed from hard-to-reach areas and that’s where we fit in. We are working alongside the Niue government to complete comprehensive marine science surveys around all of Niue (with a particular focus on the tricky windward side). Then we will head 120 nautical miles to the southeast to the tiny Beveridge Reef.”
Niue resident and artist Mark Cross commented, “Looking forward to future posts from the Niue expedition. And especially Beveridge, a remarkable place and yes in my experience, sharks are pretty prevalent.”
The team, which include four Niuean scientists, will use a variety of observation and sampling techniques including drop cameras, SCUBA surveys, and micropaleo benthic sampling, to analyze the conservation potential of Beveridge Reef and Niue’s near shore waters.
“We are fortunate to have four excellent Niuean scientists on the team and as we depart … we feel that we are taking the wonderful ocean spirit of all Niuean people with us.” [/restrict]