Matareva Beach Fales was where Samoa commemorated World Oceans Day on Friday.
An initiative by Matareva Beach Fales owner, Togia Tavita Fale, the event was based around the theme of preventing plastic pollution and encouraging solutions for a healthy ocean.
“My grandad was a great fisherman and from a fisherman’s family, I used to watch him come back with his catch,” Togia said.
“Nowadays, I’ve noticed the difference, you don’t see the same quantity and quality meaning the size of different kinds of fish to bring back from a fishing trip and plus, people are out longer than before.
“Our ocean has been serving us for many years and I think it’s about time everyone stands up and give a helping hand so we can ensure it has a future.”
The three schools that participated in the event included Lefaga College, Matautu and Gagaifo Primary School and Salamumu Primary School.
Minister of Works, Transport and Infrastructure, Papali’itele Niko Lee Hang, highlighted the importance of looking after the ocean.
“Plastic pollution poses a threat to human health, it kills and harms marine life, damages and alters natural habitats and can have substantial negative impacts on local economies, unlike many ocean issues it showcased through research that the leading cause is plastic waste and its already been widely accepted as a big problem that we need to address.
“The invitation of these three schools present aims to educate the children about the ocean as something to treasure for now and the future,” he said.
Papali’itele challenged the kids to be good role models in saving our marine life from plastics by clearing rubbish waste and spreading awareness throughout their communities.
Ministry of Agriculture and Fisheries, Principal Fisheries Officer, Ulusapeti Tiitii spoke on their role in implementing programmes that help in having a sustainable future for our ocean.
“It’s a great opportunity to help promote our community-based fisheries management programme that empower local village communities, as resource users, its sole responsibility is for managing their marine and fisheries resources, thus enabling them to be included in decision-making.
“The management actions are identified by the communities themselves, with the Government through Fisheries Division playing an advisory role in proposed management initiatives,” she said.
“The programme has now worked in more than 100 coastal villages and communities in Samoa including this village of Matautu, Lefaga, as evident through their own fish reserve in front of us.
“The prevention of plastic pollution and health of our ocean and seas are the responsibility of each and every one of us,” she added.
Lefaga College student Apineru Iota spoke about his passion of marine protection.
“I learned many important things through this programme, like the effects of damaging our oceans and also awareness of our actions so that we can take better care of our marine life,” he said.