Give a fish a home

If you want more fish in the water you have to give them a home, says Shangri-la Fijian Resort & Spa’s marine biologist, Mosese.

So Mosese has taken matters into his own hands. Literally.

He’s giving fish a home. And in doing so, is creating homes for coral and other sea creatures, too. And he’s not doing it alone.

Mosese’s program to expand the reef off the coast off Yanuca Island, where the Shangri-la Fijian Resort is located, involves guests, schoolkids and university students coming to his marine education centre and building fish houses out of cement, dead coral and ocean rocks.

He places these houses in a sandy area about 50m off the shore. Then, using salvaged metal grates, Besser blocks, and other ‘debris’, he creates impressive fish villages and coral communities.

“Guests can build a fish house, it takes about 45 minutes, then, after it’s cured they can put it out in the water and when they come back again they can see where their fish live,” says Mosese.

Mosese has been the marine educator and marine biologist at Shangri-la Fijian Resort for 10 years and has helped to create the marine education centre as well as his fish house project.

It’s a project he started in 2016. It’s already got a heap of fishy fans.

I can’t wait to meet them.

He takes me out to see his pet project and it really is impressive. A little community packed with little fish. It’s an underwater nursery of sorts.

“Once the fish move in they get very protective of their home. They’ll fight anything that tries to get in,” he says. “It’s good. It means they like it.”

We kayak a little further out – about 400m offshore – and he shows me his favourite snorkelling spots. Clown fish, sea anemones, brain coral, thousands of colourful fish of all sizes. Very peaceful: the rain on my back and another world in front of me. The best way to spend a rainy, humid day in Fiji, he says. It’s his first time taking a guest out in a kayak, so I feel kind of special, but he says he’ll take anyone out if they want too, so now I feel less special.

While we’re out he finds a clam that has been roughed off its perch. Only 50m away is the edge of the reef where the waves roar as the deeper water rushes towards the shore, often knocking coral and clams off the reef rocks. We take the homeless clam to its new home in the village, where it will live possibly for hundreds of years, peacefully.

Mosese has been diving and spearfishing since he was young, so studying marine biology at university was an obvious choice.

“I have always done it. So it was an easy thing for me to do,” he says. “ I love it.”

Certainly shows.

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