FHTA Sustainable Tourism: Marine Conservation at Plantation Island Resort

FHTA Sustainable Tourism: Marine Conservation at Plantation Island Resort

FHTA, 18 June 2022 –

It is not just about providing a perfect holiday spot and not just about corals either at the popular Plantation Island Resort in the Mamanuca group of islands just off Nadi.

After a long two years, the southern tip of Malolo Lailai Island came alive on Friday, April 1st 2022.

Plantation Island Resort finally welcomed international guests to their doorstep with a long overdue ‘Bula’!

Since then, the island resort has roared back to life with a buzz of excitement from staff and guests alike.

During the pandemic-induced closure, the resort used the time to implement several improvements and upgrades.

Their renowned restaurant and bar facilities have undergone stunning makeovers, amongst other improvements, and they will launch their brand-new Kids Club next month.

However, like many resorts around Fiji, their focus is firmly set on sustainability and therefore they have a few initiatives in place to ensure that through these conservation practices, their beautiful island and surrounding oceans are conserved for future generations to enjoy, whilst ensuring their guests can experience and appreciate their gorgeous surroundings.

Carefully thought-out steps have been put in place to provide more sustainable and environmentally friendly travel around the island including the highly recommended use of bicycle rentals to guests explore the island’s beauty and its many activity offerings.

They also have a unique and fun underwater museum with its own golf buggies, a formal dining setting and villages of fish houses to explore.

Guests are encouraged to snorkel and explore marine havens around the island, as well as learn about Plantation Island Resort’s dedication to marine conservation.

For this, they have partnered with Dr Austin Bowden-Kerby and the University of the South Pacific since 2018 to implement a number of reef protection initiatives and to foster sustainability and protection of the surrounding waters.

Along with 2 resident Marine Biologists (Sarah & Keleni), the Plantation Island Resort Team have been cultivating coral gardens to grow coral for reef restoration projects locally and globally.

The man known as “the coral gardener”, US-born marine biologist Dr Austin, pioneered the unique reef restoration technique.

He has created a coral restoration ecology manual and action strategy that merges decades of observations from field sites in 12 nations, coupled with relevant published literature.

His passion and assistance in this field have been an incredible boon to the resort’s coral conservation and marine restoration program that he and the staff at the resort are responsible for.

Other sustainable and eco-positive projects on the island include Giant Clam nurseries, seaweed farming and mangrove planting.

While the focus is mainly on corals, other projects support and strengthen the local environment and help prevent some of the adverse effects of climate change among the area’s reefs and local oceans.

Giant clams are a vital part of coral reef ecosystems in the Indo-Pacific and they play a crucial role on the reefs in which they’re found. As large bivalves, they are efficient water filterers, removing excess nutrients that flow into the reefs from land.

They also grow very large, dense shells which contribute to the growth of reef structure and provide habitat and settlement points for a wide range of other reef animals.

Seaweed farming or Kelp farming is the practice of cultivating and harvesting seaweed. In its simplest form, it consists of the management of naturally found batches and consists of fully controls the life cycle of the algae.

Finally, planting mangroves has been proven to help with environmental issues and they thrive in areas with low-oxygen soil, where slow-moving waters allow sediments to accumulate.

Mangroves thrive in brackish waters and help to control coastal inundation, especially in Pacific Island countries.

Guests at Plantation Island Resort are also included in Clean-up Campaigns around the resort property, primarily on the beach, to help keep the surroundings tidy and free of waste.

The resort’s long-time commitment to the environment includes the banning of single-use plastic shopping bags in 2017, the banning of plastic straws in 2018 and the more recent introduction of plastic water bottle recycling.

In 2019 the resort was the first South Pacific partner to join the Oceanic Standard Commitment and replace single-use amenities with bulk-use toiletries.

Coupled with the in-house health and safety protocols of their Savasava Hygiene Promise coupled with Fiji’s Care Fiji Commitment, Plantation Island Resort is well placed to not just keep their guests safe but also to keep their staff and surrounding communities safe as well.

The commitment to community, the environment and all things green keeps the resort staff and their guests who support these efforts busy throughout the year.

Published in the Fiji Sun on 18 June 2022