Fanga‘uta lagoon is “toxic” and “unworthy” for fishing, Parliament told

'Oku taupotu 'i lalo ha fakamatala faka-Tonga

The largest inland lagoon in Tongatapu has been declared toxic and not worthy to fish in.

Fanga’uta lagoon was declared a marine reserve in 1974, but has been in a state of decline for some years.

The state of the lagoon was revealed in a report by the Ministry of Fisheries read in Parliament on Monday.

Minister of Education Hon. Penisimani Fifita said that while the report was discussed, MPs should remember the lagoon was toxic.

There was no mention in Parliament of any scientific proof of why it was toxic, but a range of factors have been blamed in the past, including pollution from sewage and pesticides.

The Tongan government initiated the Ridge-to-Reef project in 2014 to manage the lagoon after an earlier plan dating to 2001 failed to get off the ground.

In 2016 Radio New Zealand described the lagoon as “badly degraded and polluted,” but said it was being rejuvenated.

Hon. Fifita, whose constituency was part of Fanga’uta lagoon, claimed some fishermen used blast fishing.

He said people in this area found few fish in the sea because of this type of dangerous fishing.

He said these fishermen were smart in using this type of homemade explosive as the ammunition exploded silently in the sea making it safe. This type of fishing was prohibited.

He said a number of complaints had been lodged with the Ministry of Fisheries, but nothing had been done.

Hon. Fifita also claimed some people had been intoxicated after eating fish from the sea.

He alleged this was because the water had been polluted by plastic bags and rotten metals.

He asked the Acting Minister of Environment to do the same work he did to make sure the land was clean to the sea.

Lord Tu’ilakepa said the public should be notified that they should not fish in that area.

The Deputy Speaker said people should not expect any healthy eatable sea creatures from the lagoon.

Lord Tu’ilakepa also said the report noted there were toxic fish found in Ha’apai and Vava’u in 2016 and 2017.

He said the report mentioned Ha’apai as the place where most of the toxic fish were found.

The main points

  • The largest inland lagoon in Tongatapu has been declared toxic and not worthy to fish in.
  • Fanga’uta lagoon was declared a marine reserve in 1974, but has been in a state of decline for some years.
  • The state of the lagoon was revealed in a report by the Ministry of Fisheries read in Parliament on Monday.

For more information

The Heart of the South Pacific: Integrated stewardship of the Fanga’uta lagoon in Tonga

Major Tonga lagoon being restored

1 COMMENT

  1. ‘Oku kona ‘a e ano Fanga’uta’ pea ‘oku ‘ikai totonu ke toe fai ha toutai mei ai.

    ‘Oku kona ‘a e ika’ mo ha toe me’amo’ui ai fakatatau ‘eni ki ha lipooti ‘a e Potungāue Toutai ‘i Fale Alea he Mōnite’.

    Talu mei he 1974 mo hono talaki fakapule’anga ko e ano vai ‘eni ia ‘oku fakataputapui ha ngaahi me’a mo’ui ‘e ‘ave mei ai ka ne faai atu pe ‘o ngaloku pe tu’utu’uni ko ia’.

    Mahino mei he me’a ‘a e Minisitā Ako’ ‘oku ‘i ai mo e kau fana ika ‘i he feitu’u’ ni neongo ‘oku tapui ‘a e founga toutai ko ‘eni.

    Kuo lava pe ‘e he kau fana ika ni ‘o fakapaaki e mahafu ‘oku nau ngāue’aki ‘ikai ongo ‘e ne pahū pea ‘oku ala hao ai ‘enau founga toutai ta’efakalao’.

    Kuo ‘osi ‘ave pe lāunga ki he Potungāue Toutai ka ‘oku ‘asi mai ne ‘ikai pe ke nau fai ha me’a.

    Pehē ‘e Minisitaa’ kuo ‘osi ‘i ai ‘a e kakai kuo nau konā he ika mei Fanga’uta pea ‘oku kaunga foki ki ai ‘a e ‘uli ‘a e potunga tahi’ ni he pelesitiki mo e ‘ukamea.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here