Being both a long term and repeat volunteer on the Shark Conservation project in Fiji has given me the opportunity to see the evolution of the mangrove aspect of the project. This past Sunday I was able to participate in extending our resident mangrove nursery for the second time. We extended the nursery by 1/3 of its current size increasing the amount of mangroves that we can plant from 10,000 to 15,000. Extending the nursery is a slightly comical task because when you put five twenty-something year olds together and tell them to build an extension to an existing structure, all of them become structural engineers.
Besides extending the nursery we also started building and implementing propagule tables; 6 to be exact. The top half of the bottles are placed on the tables fitting neatly in the mesh squares whereas the bottom half of the bottles sit underneath the tables. This has allowed us to maximise space in the nursery area meaning potential capacity has doubled from 15,000 to 30,000 propagules once all tables have been constructed. The problem now is that there simply aren't enough plastic bottles but not to worry, we have started spreading the word to local villages that we want their waste plastics and are will to pay 3 cents for each bottle. This will not only supply a small income to local communities but more importantly recycles plastics that would otherwise end up being burned, sent to landfill or end up at sea.
By Robert Thomas, 21, USA