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.