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ABOUT
BLUE PROSPERITY FIJI

Blue Prosperity Fiji (BPF) is a programme to support a healthy ocean, thriving communities, and prosperous economies in Fiji. Led by the Government of Fiji, Blue Prosperity Fiji will incorporate community consultations, scientific research, and traditional knowledge to sustainably manage 100% of Fiji's ocean space and designate 30% in fully protected areas while supporting ocean industries and fisheries management.

 

The programme will include close collaboration with communities, stakeholders, NGOs and existing ocean management efforts in Fiji, and will be designed to support inclusion, equity, and traditional knowledge to improve long-term economic stability, livelihoods, and ocean ecosystems.

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OUR

FOCUS

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BLUE
ECONOMY

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MARINE SPATIAL
PLANNING

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SUSTAINABLE FISHERIES

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MARINE PROTECTION

Blue Economy refers to the sustainable use of ocean resources for economic growth, improved livelihoods and jobs and ocean ecosystem health. Blue Economy encompasses many activities including sustainable fisheries management, renewable energy, infrastructure, tourism, education, and blue finance. 

Marine Spatial Planning is a process used to plan the use and development of coastal and marine areas. This is a public, stakeholder-driven and science-based process that involves mapping out different activities and uses in a specific marine area, such as shipping lanes, fishing grounds, and renewable energy sites, and then determining how they can best coexist and be managed sustainably. 

Sustainable Fisheries refers to strategies for increasing catch value, protecting stock, and supporting fishers and other ocean livelihoods. “Sustainable fishing means leaving enough fish in the ocean, respecting habitats, and ensuring people who depend on fishing can maintain their livelihoods.” - Marine Stewardship Council

A Marine Protected Area (MPA) is an ocean space which has been recognised, managed and protected by legislation to limit human activity and use of the area for the long-term conservation of the marine environment. Marine Protected Areas have shown to provide far-reaching benefits including increased ocean health. and biodiversity, restore habitats, slow down the pace of climate change, support sustainable fisheries, provide economic benefits, and promote recreational opportunities.

OUR
TEAM

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Arthur Sokimi

Pacific Regional Director

Arthur collaborates with partners and colleagues across the Pacific region. In his role, he supports Blue Prosperity partnerships to assist countries in developing blue economies, enhancing sustainable fisheries management, and achieving ocean protection goals. Arthur will also maintain his leadership role in Blue Prosperity Fiji, working closely with the country team and partners to promote sustainable ocean management.

 

Arthur brings a rich background in marine resource management to the Blue Prosperity programs. He is a graduate of USP’s Pacific Marine Studies Program and holds a Master of International Relations from the University of Sydney. He worked with local and international NGOs, the United Nations Development Program and Fiji’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Arthur served as Blue Prosperity Fiji Country Manager since 2022. 

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Saras Sharma-Gounder

Country Manager

As the Country Manager, Mrs. Saras Sharma-Gounder will collaborate closely with government partners and stakeholders to lead Blue Prosperity Fiji's initiatives. Bringing over 16 years of experience from her tenure at Fiji's Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry, Saras is exceptionally qualified for her new role. Her expertise spans work on a diversity of issues from science, including community-based management, policy, and compliance.

 

She received a Bachelor of Arts degree (Geography and Marine Affairs) from the University of the South Pacific  in 2006, and a Postgraduate Diploma (Marine Management) in 2016

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Andrew Paris

Environment Coordinator

Prior to joining the program, Andrew was a research assistant and marine studies master's student at the University of the South Pacific. Andrew is a Fijian who has been immersed in ocean-centric research in the South Pacific after completing an undergraduate degree in Environmental Science.

 

Andrew has designed and managed research in marine ecology, marine pollution, and eco-toxicology and possesses a strong record of outreach and advocacy for ocean stewardship. Andrew is the co-founder of the Pacific Ocean Litter Youth Project which is a youth collective that seeks to alter societal paradigms around plastic pollution through science and art. 

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Dr. Joeli Veitayaki

Co-Primary Investigator, Science Expedition

Dr. Veitayaki will serve as an Advisor for science, community engagement, and cultural aspects, and as Co-Primary Investigator for the Blue Prosperity Fiji Research Expedition. Dr. Veitayaki was an Associate Professor of Marine Studies at the University of the South Pacific’s School of Agriculture, Geography, Environment, Ocean and Natural Science Marine Studies.  He was recently the Acting Campus Director at the USP Samoa Campus in Apia. He is also Director for the International Ocean Institute Pacific Islands based at the USP, is Co-Chair of the Korea-South Pacific Ocean Forum (KSPOFF) and a member of the Panel of Experts for a Sustainable Ocean Economy assembled by the World Resource Institute in support of the High Level Panel on the Sustainable Ocean Economy.

He has formulated all of the community based initiatives of the Lomani Gau network, which has coordinated the partnerships between development partners and the 16 villages of Gau Island on the sustainable use and management of their environment resources.

Joeli celebrates his upbringing in rural Gau Island, Fiji and how his education and work has taken him to places he only used to see in books and film. This grounding has allowed him to navigate through the traditional and modern ways of living. He is grateful to be serving his family, village, island, Fiji, the Pacific Islands and the world.

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Lekima Copeland

Ocean Use Survey Coordinator

Lekima is a Ph.D. Candidate at the University of the South Pacific and an experienced Senior Environmental Consultant with a demonstrated history of working in various sectors in the Pacific. With a Master of Science in Marine Science focused on freshwater fish ecology, he is skilled in public speaking, environmental education, riverine ecology, report writing, and ecology.

 

Currently, he is conducting studies on endemic riverine fish to enhance his knowledge and expertise in the field. We are proud to have Lekima on our team, helping to promote sustainable ocean stewardship and community development in Fiji. 

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Monika Lal

Blue Economy Coordinator

Monika Lal has a lot of experience with environmental management, ecological and human health risk assessments, climate change adaptation & mitigation, climate finance, and development and implementation of innovative environmental sustainability programs.

 

She was the Principal Environment Officer for the Project Management Unit at the Ministry of Environment before taking up this role. She is an Australia Awards Alumni and has her Master’s degree in Environmental Risk Assessment and Remediation with distinction from the University of Newcastle.

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Unaisi Rabici

Sustainable Fisheries Coordinator

As the Sustainable Fisheries Coordinator, Mrs. Unaisi Rabici will collaborate closely with government partners and stakeholders to lead the Blue Prosperity Fiji's Sustainable Fisheries initiatives. Bringing over ten years of invaluable experience from her tenure at Fiji's Ministry of Fisheries and Forestry, Unaisi is exceptionally qualified for her new role. Her expertise spans Fisheries Monitoring, Control, Surveillance, Enforcement, and fishery trade.

 

Additionally, she has represented Fiji in various regional and international forums focused on oceanic matters. She has a Marine Science Graduate degree from the University of the South Pacific. 

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Ian Chute

Communications Coordinator

As the Communications Coordinator, Mr. Ian Chute is committed to enhancing public awareness and engagement with Blue Prosperity Fiji's initiatives. With prior roles as a Production Assistant at the Government of Fiji’s Department of Information and as a reporter for the Fiji Times, he brings a wealth of experience and invaluable insight to his position. He is a student of Journalism and Law at the University of the South Pacific.
 

He is an alumnus of the Edward R. Murrow International Visitor Leadership Program for Journalists, having participated in the programme in March 2023. 

SUPPORTING
PARTNERS

Uto Ni Yalo

The Uto Ni Yalo is a traditional Fijian sailing vessel that aims to advance sustainable sea transportation by rejuvenating traditional practices. They are dedicated to teaching our current and future generations the art of Pacific traditional voyaging. By understanding our ancestors’ ability to navigate vast oceans using only the natural elements, the Trust aims to inspire Fijians and visitors with the power of innovation the Pacific Islands bring to the world and the values we hold that can help drive solutions for the earth’s rapidly declining resources and changing environments. The Uto Ni Yalo is partnering with  Blue Prosperity Fiji to support community engagement and support for a variety of activities. 

cChange

cChange is a non-profit organisation working to improve lives through strategic communications and behavioural change initiatives. They believe that solutions to society’s challenges, big and small, lie in changing the behaviour of individuals. When people understand the personal relevance of society’s issues, when they are motivated by their own values and desire the solutions, when barriers to action are meaningfully addressed, only then will they change their behaviour in ways that will lead to the transformational outcomes needed. cChange provides strategic communication advice to Blue Prosperity Fiji.

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