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Fiji’s $42.2million (US$18.2 million) shark diving industry has taken a big hit from the COVID-19 pandemic.
A report by The Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (ESCAP) says the recent crisis has led to a temporary shutdown in many activities, especially those related to shipping and transport, and tourism.
“For example, the total contribution of shark-diving to the economy of Fiji was estimated in 2011 at $42.2 million, composed of the revenue generated by the industry combined with the departure taxes paid by shark divers to the Government,” the report said.
“This link with tourism is very significant, especially when considering the global trends of the sector.”
The report, “Changing sails: accelerating regional actions for sustainable oceans in Asia and the Pacific”, said tourism had been growing steadily at a rate of 5 per cent over the past 40 years.
“This growth is estimated to continue at a similar pace at least until 2030, with most of it being in Asia and the Pacific.”
The ESCAP report says the economic and social impact of the pandemic on the Asian-Pacific region will be hard felt.
“Service sectors, such as tourism, rely heavily on oceans. Economic packages and stimuli for reconstruction after the COVID-19 pandemic must embed sustainable practices that enable a future with less plastics and distancing from business as usual.”
Meanwhile, submissions are open to members of the public who would like to contribute to the Fiji 2020 National Ocean Policy.
According to the Fijian Government, a national policy is being created for Fiji to help better take care of resources for the people and their future generations.
The Government is calling on members of the public if they have any input on the 2020 National Ocean Policy to help in the policy-making process to provide their feedback at bit.ly/NOP2020Submission.
According to the current National Ocean Policy, Fijians’ close relationship with their environment and with each other has allowed unique resilience that is now under pressure by modernisation.
“Fiji is trying to combine this traditional, environmentally-centered knowledge with modern technology and resource-management arrangements to put the country on a pathway towards sustainable development,” the present policy states.
“If realised, this pathway would allow Fijians to both improve their economic livelihoods and well-being and ensure a vibrant, healthy environment.”.
SOURCE: FIJI TIMES/PACNEWS
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