The 4FJ campaign completes the third breeding season today for its campaign to boost kawakawa and donu stocks, with the pledge total reaching more than 10,000 and reducing the market for these fish by 100,000 fish.
The campaign sought pledges from individuals from all walks of life in Fiji not to eat, buy or sell these two fish during their peak spawning months, June through September. The pledge is intended to give these rapidly disappearing fish a space to reproduce and there are more fish to eat the rest of the year.
This year the campaign was also supported by pledges not to sell the fish during the peak breeding months from two national supermarket chains, Morris Hedstrom and Newworld IGA. Both supermarkets have pledged to forego $10,000 in annual revenue to help revive the fish stocks.
The campaign was also buoyed by a host of new champions, including individuals such as Fiji Olympic Football team captain Roy Krishna, Fiji Broadcasting Company News Anchor Jacqueline Speight, and Natewa chief Ratu Ifereimi Buaserau Rakuita, and long-time supporters like Ben Ryan and the Fiji 7s team.
“We made it. Everyone who made the 4FJ pledge deserves a big vinaka vakalevu today as they made real personal sacrifices to improve Fiji’s future,” said Scott Radway, executive director of cChange, who created the campaign. “We know these are tasty fish, and are important both to the culture and commerce in Fiji. So this was not a token pledge.”
The total pledge count is believed to be much higher, as many individuals have taken pledges for their families, and many have taken the pledge privately, without notifying the campaign formally.
Based on consumption surveys on these fish conducted in Suva, for the 10,000 pledge public pledges alone, if multiplied over the four month breeding season, equate to upwards of 100,000 fish being passed on by 4FJ Pledgers. However, this does not include the supermarket pledges and the many private pledges.
Radway cautioned that while the peak breeding season has ended, the campaign is not over. The campaign will be working with the Ministry of Fisheries to foster greater dialogue with fishermen, fishermen associations and fish sellers as well as communities over the next several months. It is also asking for urban residents to carry home outreach kits back to the villages during the holiday season.
“We need to make sure what we have accomplished together translates into long-term benefits for the communities that depend on these fish,” he said. “But before we put our head downs and get back to work, let’s make sure we congratulate each other. We pledged to give these fish room to breed. And today, we went the distance.”. SOURCE: SEAWEB/PACNEWS [/restrict]