Vanuatu

Vanuatu’s Food Security and Agriculture Cluster Rehabilitating Fish Aggregating Devices for Food Security

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Food Security in the wake of Cyclone Pam is without a doubt one of the most serious concerns facing the people of Vanuatu in the coming days, weeks, and years. With an estimated 207,000 people affected, the productive is under tremendous pressure.

Vanuatu’s Food Security and Agriculture Cluster has been mandated by the Government of Vanuatu and the National Disaster Management Office to coordinate and oversee all Cyclone Pam relief, recovery and rehabilitation efforts in the Food, Agriculture, Livestock, Fisheries, Forestry and Biosecurity Sectors.

This weekend, the Food Security and Agriculture Cluster, under the guidance and direction of officers from the Vanuatu Fisheries Department, took decisive steps to begin repairing and restoring Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) that were not totally destroyed by Cyclone Pam.

FADs work by providing a surface on which algae can grow. The algae attract small fish, which in turn attract larger deep water pelagic fish (like tuna, mahi-mahi and marlin) close to local villages. The FAD enables quick village recovery to Cyclone Pam by providing a nearby source of food security and easy revenue generation. The FAD also helps to release of fishing pressure on the damaged and vulnerable coral reef fish. FADs in Vanuatu are made from a variety of materials and with many designs. FADs are accessible to both men and women in canoes or with outboard boats.

In 2013, the Nguna-Pele Marine and Land Protected Area Network installed a fish aggregating device with the technical and financial support of the Vanuatu Fisheries Department and the SPC/GIZ Climate Change Program. The FAD was designed to be cyclone proof (by allowing raft submergence with heavy seas) and it lived up to its expectation. The Nguna/Pele FAD and floats were intact even after the 270km/hour winds and waves of category 5 cyclone Pam. The only damage was to the hanging nets which attract fish.

This weekend, both men and women resource managers from the Nguna-Pele Marine and Land Protected Area Network replaced the hanging nets on their FAD with support from the German Government and technical guidance from officers of the Vanuatu Fisheries Department.

According to Fisheries Officer Graham Nimoho, “we can expect that pelagic fish will again be caught around the FAD in as little as two weeks, providing a much neededsource of protein and food security to the people of Nguna and Pele islands.” The Fisheries Department has included along-term recovery proposal for other islands in the Food Security & Agriculture Cluster Long Term Recovery and Rehabilitation Plan which will be put before donors and development partners in the coming weeks. The draft plan and other Food Security related documents and reports are updated daily and available online at http://www.nab.vu/projects/food-security-agriculture-response-cyclone-pam.

For information on the Food Security & Agriculture’s activities and plans, or to get involved in the national recovery and rehabilitation planning, please email fsacreport@gmail.com