Firstly let’s see how you say this word- Makogai (say Ma-kon-i) I have discovered that Fijian might be quite easy to say the words but writing them is a different story. There are invisible letters where Nadi is said Nandi… so these invisible letters sneak up randomly! There is also the c’s that must be said as ‘th’…. It’s all a bit strange but I’m catching on.
Now back to the island of Makogai, originally the island for the leper colony, where more than 4500 lepers lived for many years, over 1500 of these people passed away on this island. Some years later the hospital was closed and the people moved back to the mainland. It is now the central hub for the breeding of the giant clam population and a nursery for turtles.
The Ministry of Fisheries is doing great work in Fiji and one of the places they are really working hard at is the island of Makogai. They have assisted the residents in making the island a plastic free island, plastic alternatives have been implemented and other plastics are removed regularly from the island to be recycled.
Clams are brought here to spawn and these offspring are nursed until they are large enough to be moved to other islands to be introduced to those reefs and repopulate the area. There are many islands that are part of this project and they receive these clams and transplant them into the outer reef to ensure the success of the species.
Clams are important to the health of the coral reef by acting as a water filtration system and also they produce calcium carbonate shell matter which helps to increase the area of the reef to allow more coral to grow.
The Ministry of Fisheries monitors how the islands are looking after their clams and ensures that government and locals are working together for the well being of the reef.
Turtle is a delicacy in Fiji so the population here is in trouble, the government has implemented a ban on catching turtles for consumption.
The baby turtles are 4 months at the moment and when they are a year old they will be released into the ocean to continue growing.
The Ministry of Fisheries marine biologist on the island of Makogai will collect eggs that are laid on their beaches and incubate them until they hatch, then baby turtles are kept in the nursary until they reach 1 years old then they will be released.
This increases their chances for survival, because from day 1 turtles are on their own against the world, if you thought your life was tough well baby turtles have it worse, predictors like birds, crabs, snakes and humans… And that’s all before they even reach the water! So if you are lucky enough to spot an adult turtle in its natural habitat then appreciate all it’s been through to make it to that age! I haven’t seen an adult yet but its still early days!
So now that I’ve seen a baby turtle, I need to see one in real life in the ocean, so come on guys show me Fiji’s turtles!! I told the team I’m not leaving Fiji unless I see a turtle so best they find me one because I have work to get back to!