Current Projects

VEPA designs and co-ordinates its projects to ensure ownership by the communities of their environment and ecosystems. We engage all social groups within communities in Vava’u through media and education, hands on projects, as well as collaboration with National Government programs, local and regional NGO’s, and funding partners. 

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Marine Focused Programs

Coral reef, near-shore, and pelagic habitats are critical to many biological, ecological, economic and social functions for biodiversity, livelihoods, and sustainable development. In order to further community based management programs, ecological monitoring and national management plans, VEPA has been engaged in the following activities:

  1. Vava’u Ocean Initiative funded by the Waitt Foundation in 2017.
  • Main objectives are to support fisheries management, sustainable ocean planning, conserve biodiversity, and allow for sustainable economic development
  • Creates Special Management Areas (SMAs), which are designated to protected ocean areas where ecosystems are restored through a break from human disturbance while the spillover of fish benefits the local communities
  • Mangrove rehabilitation, coral reef protection, and awareness to sustainable fishing practices
  • Uses scientific research to support the sustainable management of marine resources

     2.  Our Ocean funded by the Waitt Foundation in 2016.

  • Vava’u wide marine awareness program (39 communities, 18 schools)
  • Resource use maps from community discussions
  • Development of awareness materials on near-shore habitats, sustainable fisheries and gleaning
  • Field activities with women’s groups on gleaning activities
  • Development of SMA brochure
  • Desktop review of aquaculture

     3.  Feasibility survey of the plankton, ichthyoplankton and crypto-benthic fishes

  • Development of low cost methodology for light traps and plankton tows
  • Collection of crypto-benthic fishes (gobies, blennies)
  • Analysis of abundance and genetic composition (Dr. Raymond Buckley, Affiliate Assistant Professor, University of Washington)
  • Report to the Ministry of Fisheries on the development of the project and ongoing management support potential


Terrestrial (land) Based Programs

  1. Invasive Species Management funded through SPREP under the National Invasive Species Action Plan
  • Rat management on Mount Talau to protect biodiversity such as the Tongan Whistler bird (endemic to Vava’u) and Casseria buelowii (discovered during the BioRAP)
  • Rat eradication on two outer islands in Vava’u to strengthen sea bird populations, crustacean populations, native flora, and near-shore ecological processes
  • Monthly bird counts are used for monitoring the population of the Tongan Whistler (Hengehenga)