Tuvalu – In a significant step towards strengthening marine conservation efforts, the Tuvalu Fisheries Department recently organized an extensive diving training program aimed at equipping 11 local divers, 8 Fisheries officer, 2 officers from the Kaupule Funafuti and an officer from the Marine & Port services Department.
The training program spanned over a week and was conducted in collaboration with seasoned diving instructor and environmental expert, Mr Greg Buxton of Suva Scuba in Fiji.
The training involved theory work in the classroom and at home with a final exam, followed by four days of open-water training beginning in shallow depths and progressing to a final dive at 18 meters on a wreck in the lagoon using the new Fisheries research vessel, Manaui II.
“Fisheries work is essential to Tuvalu’s economy,” the chief instructor of Suva Scuba remarked. To achieve that, it is essential to keep track of the condition of the fish and reefs. SCUBA diving is a crucial monitoring tool, thus it’s crucial that divers receive the right training to keep them safe. He continued, “We hope to continue the training program in the future to broaden the divers’ scope and elevate them to the status of internationally recognized Scientific Divers.”
The LMMA Fisheries Officer, Mr. Lavata Nivaga, said, “I find this scuba diving training interesting. By fusing my passion of the sea with my newly acquired diving abilities, which now directly support the preservation and protection of Tuvalu’s marine ecosystem. He further stated that he hoped to receive advanced scuba training in the future.
The success of the diving training program marks a positive stride in Tuvalu’s ongoing efforts to address environmental challenges and climate change impacts on its vulnerable coastal regions. With these newly trained divers, the island nation is better positioned to survey marine habitats, detect any potential threats, and foster a culture of sustainability among its citizens.
As the training concluded, participants expressed their excitement and determination to apply their newfound knowledge for the betterment of Tuvalu’s marine heritage. The Tuvalu Fisheries Department plans to conduct regular follow-up trainings and continued engagement with the trained divers, ensuring their efforts contribute to the long-term protection of the nation’s marine resources.