Sustainability Initiatives at Wakaya
Our deep love and appreciation for Mother Nature are the inspiration behind our various sustainability initiatives. Because the ocean, reefs, and fertile land that provide so much for us need our help.
The Wakaya Manta Conservation Project
Being surrounded by some of the most pristine reef habitats in Fiji, Wakaya Island boasts an incredible diversity of marine life including scalloped hammerhead sharks, leopard sharks, turtles, humphead wrasse, and the mysterious reef manta ray (Mobulaalfredi).
Unfortunately, manta rays are globally threatened by overfishing and climate change, and in recent decades manta rays have been targeted specifically for their gill plates which are used in the medicinal market within SE Asia. This heavy pressure has dramatically decreased manta populations in some areas.
To assist with manta conservation efforts in Fiji, Wakaya has partnered with Manta Project Fiji where we work together to better understand the manta ray populations around Wakaya and the wider Fiji waters. With a large section of the Wakaya reef system being a legislated Marine Preserve Area, one of the few in Fiji, it is an invaluable opportunity to study Fiji’s manta rays in a habitat with very little disturbance to fishing pressures.
With our manta identification work, we encourage all divers to get involved. When diving on the pristine manta cleaning stations we have the incredible experience of witnessing a myriad of reef fish clean these gentle giants. During this experience, we document the unique spot patterns on the underside of each manta ray via photo and video, which allows us to build up a database for monitoring the population health and manta movements around Fiji.
Currently, we have recorded over 75 different manta rays on Wakaya’s reef system, with three of those individuals being recorded making long-distance migrations to the west of Fiji all the way to the Yasawa Islands, 183 kilometers (114 miles) away!
Wakaya Coral Nursery
Coral reefs are the lifeblood of the South Pacific Ocean and island nations such as Fiji. These teeming ecosystems support huge quantities of life, which in turn support the people living closest to them with food, shelter from storms, and many other resources.
Much like the manta ray, overfishing and climate change are threatening our reefs’ existence. Warming waters causes coral bleaching, and overfishing results in decreased populations of critical herbivores such as parrotfish and surgeonfish. Without them, rampant algal growth occurs which can overtake even the healthiest coral colonies.
To combat some of these threats, we launched the Wakaya Coral Nursery to ensure our reefs and other nearby reefs continue to thrive in the face of uncertainty.
Our waters are home to many species of coral, from the shallow sheltered waters of Homestead Beach to the breathtaking drop-offs on the outer reef. Coral species thrive in the Wakaya Marine Preserve Area (MPA). Despite the protection the MPA gives the reef against fishing, it unfortunately does not protect against warming waters and bleaching.
Our coral nursery supports the growth and propagation of heat resilient colonies, which will be replanted on the reef so that these ‘super’ corals can help restore and build resilience against warming oceans. Mother coral colonies are selected carefully before small fragments are taken to be grown on a specially constructed rope nursery, where the corals will spend the next 9-12 months growing large enough so that they can replanted on degraded sections of reef.
By the end of 2023 we will have planted over 1000 corals in our coral nursery which will be ready to plant back on the reefs by mid-2024. We hope to continue expanding our coral nursery efforts to have the most impactful results possible on our reefs.
The Wakaya Organic Farm
Wakaya is home to lush forests and fertile lands which stretch across the island. In an effort to become as self-sufficient and sustainable as possible with our various sustainability initiatives, our Organic Farm is one of our most important.
The notion of locally grown produce is a “given” here. With our incredibly talented kitchen staff, composed solely of local Fijians, our culinary program utilizes over 60% of ingredients and produce grown & found on Wakaya Island.
Inspired by the island’s plentiful resources, no two meals are the same on Wakaya. Our curated menu effortlessly blends fresh Fijian, Indian, and Mediterranean flavors to ensure that each culinary experience will ignite your palette.
Guests can join our culinary team to forage for the freshest island produce on a daily basis, then relax by the ocean at our flagship restaurant, The Palm Grove, or our intimate beach house, Baravi Lai Lai.
Our Farm Produce:
- Selection of herbs
- Several varieties of lettuce
- Chinese Cabbage
- Dalo Spinach
- Fijian Ginger