Harmful invasions by non-indigenous species are generally regarded to be the second-most serious threat to biodiversity after habitat loss, but for an oceanic island like Fiji, it may be the most harmful. The problems of invasive species are likely to become even more severe in the future, with increasing global trade and international travel, changing global climate and changing land use patterns. Travel within the Fiji group is increasing rapidly too and there is a need for measures to be introduced to prevent the spread of invasive species within Fiji’s 300+ islands.
The Fiji Government National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan (NBSAP) and its Implementation Framework identifies control of IAS as critical to the success of biodiversity conservation.
Fiji is a Lead Partnering Country and plays a key role in the GEF/IMO-UNDP GloFouling Partnership project, which aims to address the transfer of harmful aquatic species through biofouling in some of the developing regions of the world.
The Fiji Invasive Alien Species Project being executed through the Biosecurity Authority of Fiji (BAF) has several proposed outcomes including strengthened IAS policy, institutions and coordination at the national level to reduce the risk of IAS entering Fiji. It also hopes to strengthen knowledge management, monitoring and evaluation in regard to invasive alien species and biosecurity. These outcomes will be supported by the formation of (i) the National Invasive Species Strategy and Action Plan (NISSAP) (ii) Improved biosecurity capacity and (iii) Development of a national-level Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) program trialed for Viti Levu.
The objectives of the PacMAN project are very much in line with the National Biodiversity Strategy and Action Plan and existing projects such as the Fiji Invasive Alien Species Project and the GloFouling Partnership Project.