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Tonga

Felemea Village

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Conservation benefit: Support of the protection of two fish habitat reserves, totaling 368 acres, for 10 years

Community benefit: Refurbishment of a community hall

Date Approved: 07.2010

Ocean

This project protects ocean ecosystems, making coastal communities more economically and physically secure in the face of climate change.

Felemea Village is one of two villages on ‘Uiha Island in the Ha’apai island group. In January 1995, the Tongan government declared the entire Ha’apai group a Conservation Area in principle, under the South Pacific Biodiversity Conservation Program. The marine area near Felemea used to contain abundant clams, sea slugs, seaweeds, crab, lobster, and a variety of reef fish. Overfishing, however, has threatened its health.

The community is willing to more aggressively protect its marine resources. In return for Seacology’s support, it will actively manage two fish habitat reserves, totaling 368 acres, for 10 years. Seacology is funding the refurbishment of the Felemea community hall. As is common in South Pacific villages, Felemea’s community hall is the main venue for meetings, workshops, women’s and youth activities, and preschool. With a Seacology grant, the hall will get a complete makeover. Community members will replace the floor, doors, window frames, and louvers. They will also buy tables and chairs and make electrical repairs, repaint, and install a water tank and guttering. Our nonprofit partner is the Tonga Community Development Trust, which has worked with Tongan villages for many years.

Project Updates

October 2014

Construction of the new Felemea center has been completed, and a Seacology expedition visited the site in late August.

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April 2014

The Felemea community hall was badly damaged by Cyclone Ian in January 2014. Seacology Field Representative Sione Faka’osi is working to provide Seacology staff with an estimate for needed repairs.

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June 2011

Field Representative Sione Faka’osi reports that the renovations of the building are completed. The new water tank is already full of fresh water. The village is looking forward to welcoming members of the August 2011 Seacology expedition to Tonga. The Minister of Fisheries is continuing to follow up with the Village Management Committee regarding conservation. There is less abuse of village rules about the use of marine resources than previously, and there have been no major issues in the last quarter.

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January 2011

Field Representative Sione Faka’osi visited the project site in August 2010, accompanied by Deputy Director of Fisheries Siola’a Malimali and Ha’apai-based Fisheries Officer Sailosi’Afoli. A village meeting was held, which was a good opportunity for the community to learn more about Seacology, and also to discuss and clarify project activities and outcomes. The short trip demonstrated the close working relationship between the Seacology field representative, the Ministry of Fisheries and the community of Felemea. Shipment of construction materials began in early October. A community meeting regarding the conservation component of the program was held on November 13, with discussions of both positive developments regarding the marine areas, as well as areas which need strengthening. Sione visited the project again in early January, and reported that flooring, windows, paint and electrical work were all completed. All that remains is to install the water tanks, and purchase tables and chairs. Sione believes that all work should be completed by February. While there, he met with the Village Committee to discuss the work undertaken, remaining tasks, upcoming activities in relation to protecting of the Special Managed Areas (SMA) and Fisheries Habitat Areas (FHA). A Seacology expedition will visit the project in August 2011.

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