The Lau Seascape is an initiative to protect the ecosystems of Fiji’s Lau Islands. Designed in 2016 by Conservation International with the support of the 30 Lau Island chiefs, the initiative aims to ensure sustainable management through a “ridge-to-reef-to-ocean” approach that encompasses all the region’s ecosystems. The Seascape — in partnership with the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network (FLMMA), Pacific Blue Foundation, and the Lau Provincial Council — hopes to foster local stewardship and build local capacity to support effective co-management between the Lau communities and the government. In order to better manage the tradeoffs between biodiversity and food security, the initiative carefully accounts for local traditions and culture.
This film played at the UN Oceans Conference, which led to an official commitment from the Fijian government to protect the area. The storytelling efforts from the Lau Seascape Rapid Assessment Program (RAP) provided greater understanding on the geography, the remoteness and the unique biodiversity of the Lau Seascape to Fiji government stakeholders, civil society organizations (CSOs) and to Conservation International’s external partners. Conservation International Fiji received a small grant issued from the US Embassy in Suva for work in the Lau Seascape and new partners were developed (Loving Islands and Vatuvara Foundation) since publishing the video and communications materials. In addition, the Fijian language version of the film is now being played by community members in their villages to spread the important message of ocean protection.