Blue carbon restoration and ocean acidification in Fiji: a case study from Viti Levu Bay (text & video)

OA Week 2021, PI-TOA (Pacific Islands & Territories) Hub Session

Ms. Miriama Vuiyasawa, The University of the South Pacific, Fiji


Blue Carbon ecosystems such as mangrove forests and seagrass meadows have the ability to sequester carbon dioxide and store fixed carbon. As a result of this sequestration, there is less dissolved carbon dioxide available in the ocean water column to form acidic compounds. Therefore, restoring blue carbon habitats can help mitigate the effects of ocean acidification (OA) on coastal communities. In 2018 the Institute of Applied Sciences at the University of the South Pacific was awarded a 2-year project to pilot the use of blue carbon in local mitigation of OA in Fiji. The main objective was to increase coastal resilience through climate change mitigation and better understanding of the role of blue carbon in OA mitigation through support of an existing coastal restoration project. The project was conducted in 4 villages in Viti Levu Bay, Fiji Islands and activities involved mangrove forest restoration, monitoring ocean acidification, raising awareness about observations of ecosystem health at the restored site. The work also provided capacity building for local scientists and early career junior staff on OA monitoring. Discrete water samples were collected at all four sites on a monthly basis and chemical analyses were conducted using protocols from the GOA-ON and an In a Box equipment kit donated by the Ocean Foundation. Data collected includes pH, total alkalinity, salinity and water temperate from which other OA parameters were determined. Along with OA monitoring, a total of 0.7925 ha of mangrove forest (more than (6000 seedlings) was planted with the assistance of the local Navuniivi community. Long term monitoring and more restorative work is needed at the project sites to fully understand and assess the benefits of the restorative efforts and its potential mitigation of OA. Several challenges were encountered, particularly with equipment breakdown and maintenance, and the limited resources to perform monitoring work. Despite these challenges, the project successfully collected OA monitoring data, which was the first dataset for the area and thus contributed to SDG 14 goal for Fiji. The mangrove restorative work was also a huge achievement with great community buy-in that resulted in a successful community collaborative project.

Ocean Acidification Week 2021 was sponsored by the following organizations:

(1) GOA-ON, the Global Ocean Acidification Observing Network,

(2) NOAA, the United States National Oceanic & Atmospheric Administration,

(3) IAEA OA-ICC, the International Atomic Energy Agency – Ocean Acidification International Coordination Centre, and

(4) IOC-UNESCO – the Intergovernmental Oceanographic Commission of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization

For more information, please visit

GOA-ON, YouTube, 24 September 2021. Text and video.

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