‘The Ocean - A Piece Of Who We Are’

06/12/2020

FELIX LESINAIVALU
 
“The ocean is more than Fiji’s bridge to the world; it represents a precious piece of who we are as a people. It feeds us.”

This was highlighted by Prime Minister Voreqe Bainimarama during the Fiji Hydro-graphic Service (FHS) golden jubilee reception held recently at the Royal Fiji Yacht Club.

“As a blue economy, we depend on the FHS to allow ships to safely navigate our ocean and keep Fiji at the cutting-edge of ocean science. For thousands of years the ocean was Fiji’s only bridge to the world. Even as we’ve embraced the modern might of large-scale commercial air travel, shipping for Fiji is more critical today than ever.”

“In a usual year, we import more than 80,000 of those massive twenty-foot containers we see on the cargo ships in our major ports. On top of that we import another 400,000 tonnes of loose cargo,” Prime Minister Bainimarama said.

He added that without well-mapped ports, all that food and those supplies, construction materials, vehicles, and other vital goods we rely on to run our modern economy would never arrive to Fiji, and many of our Fijian-made exports would never ship throughout the world.

“Instead, we can rely on maritime charts of properly surveyed waters to navigate through-out our 1.3 million square kilometres of Fijian ocean. That matters a great deal in normal times and in times of crisis, when vessels must urgently ship relief supplies to isolated regions.”

“I know we’re here to celebrate a half century of service given by the FHS to Fiji. But tonight, I want to speak about the future of the vast ocean Fijians are entrusted with protecting.”

Prime Minister Bainimarama said the ocean regulates the climate and actually helps stop global warming from becoming worse but even the ocean is beset by devastating challenges.

“Overfishing, pollution, and climate change all threaten to strip our ocean bare, putting the future of every Fijian, along with every other person on Earth, at risk.” Fiji has been a strong advocate on the global stage for the preservation of ocean health.
 
-ENDS-