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Commercially grown coral on display during Environment Week.

The Fiji Islands is home to some 400 species of coral and are a visual feast for those fortunate enough to see them in their natural setting.

Corals are among the most diverse ocean species. Not only do they provide protection to the shores and beaches but are also home to many marine species that depend on it for shelter and food; this ecosystem in turn provides food for us humans.

Although the coral reefs are important for a diverse marine ecosystem it is seriously under threat of extinction due to various reasons.

Harvest of corals by humans is one of the major reasons for its decline. Coral reefs are beautiful and can be found in diverse colours, sizes and shapes therefore it is used as a source of income by the local people in villages around Fiji.

Coral harvesting is very common among many villages as tourists pay high prices for the colourful pieces to keep as souvenirs.

An organisation known as the Partners in Community Development in Fiji is working closely with the Fijian communities in increasing awareness and using their help to farm some of the endangered coral for the sole purpose of selling it to tourists so that locals do not harvest the natural corals in the sea for commercial purpose.

This project basically aims to stop the harvesting of the natural corals so is a major conservation step taken to preserve the beauty of our oceans.

The money obtained through this project is used for the benefit of the farmers and to help further this project. PCDF has implemented sustainable marine coral farming and marine management and helps to protect the areas where corals are in danger of extinction.

This project by the PCDF has been approved by the Ministry of Environment and is being tested to see its success in the community, for the farmers and the tourists. The future aim of this organisation is to expand it to other communities in Fiji such as Serua and other coastal villages to help conserve our coral ecosystem through community awareness and participation. So far communities in the Moturiki village in Lomaiviti have taken part in this project.

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