The giant clam project has been underway for some time to restock and repopulate these vulnerable coral reef dwellers. The world’s largest living bivalve mollusks, giant clams can weigh more than 500 lbs. and have an average lifespan in the wild of over 100 years. Because the giant clams are considered a delicacy throughout the Pacific, they have become over-harvested and increasingly scarce. The resort has acquired a number of clams and holds them near the resort’s pier. When the clams reach a certain size, they are moved to remote areas. By husbanding these resources and educating the local people, over-fishing of these shellfish is minimized and new stock is reintroduced to the reef systems.
Nukubalavu Marine Reserve. In January 2007 the resort formed an alliance with the Seacology group to negotiate with elders from the local village of Nukubalavu, for the construction of a preschool building in exchange for the creation of a 200-acre marine reserve for a duration of 20 years. The resort fully funded and built the preschool. In addition, the resort assists to enforce and protect the reserve.
Protecting the Namena Marine Reserve. About 20 kilometers from Savusavu, Namena Island is considered one of the world’s top 10 dive sites. This island and the reefs surrounding it are known as Namena Marine Reserve. The designation protects this pristine environment from fishing. In addition, the resort installed moorings which encourage dive boats to tie up rather than drop anchor and damage the coral reef. Money from use tags goes towards upkeep of moorings and administering the reserve as well as an education program administered by the local community.
Mangrove Reforestation. Many years ago the coastline of the area had abundant mangroves which provide an important ecosystem and assist in reducing coastal erosion. The resort has implemented a mangrove reforestation program which is overseen and monitored by our resident Marine Biologist.
Coral Farm. Marine Biologist Johnny Singh commenced implementing a coral farm in May 2013 and it is now up and running with its first stage of 87 fragments in the waters off the resort’s pier. Natural processes such as storms and strong wind conditions naturally break fragments of coral colonies. If the fragments fall on unstable substrate, such as sand or silt, their survival rate is low compared to if they fall on stable solid substrate. Naturally broken fragments can clone themselves to grow to large corals. The Coral farm was started to assist the reefs by utilizing local corals that have been broken naturally from the parent colony and have very low chance of surviving without our help. Corals sought after are especially those belonging in the genus Acropora as Corals in this genus are quite fast growing, increasing almost 12cm per year of cubic growth. Johnny collects these naturally broken live fragments and adds them to the farm.
Insects, prevalent in the tropics, are kept at bay by non-toxic products. In addition, the resort uses plants that are less attractive to bugs; species were recommended by Niumaia Kavika, the resort’s Cultural Host and ‘medicine man’ – who was the recipient of “Excellence in Cultural Tourism” awarded by the Fiji Visitors Bureau in 2003. Niumaia has since passed away but his legacy remains through the gardens at the resort and his protégés continue this important work.
As an extra and welcome benefit of enhancing and diversifying the habitat, bird life – once scarce in the area – is increasingly plentiful. Now Red Vented Bulbuls, Fiji Bush Warblers, Golden Whistlers, Wattled Honeyeaters, and others now frequent the resort grounds.
Over a 15 year span the resort’s organic garden has steadily increased in size over the years to an area just over two acres. Produce varies from year to year, but includes a diverse array of vegetables, herbs and tropical fruits. The resort’s organic garden and fruit trees supply around twenty percent of the resort’s fruit and vegetable needs.
The resort features Fiji’s first ever water reclamation plant. This enhanced wastewater system is an advanced biological treatment system. The system utilizes a two-stage trickling filter design. Using a combination of small gravity clarifiers and two stages of trickling filters, the system is designed to provide a high level of treatment to reduce both the carbonaceous and nitrogenous demand. Treated wastewater is then pumped to a shallow GeoFlow Dispersal system (Ponds and wetland system). The treatment plant is designed to reduce the total nitrogen by 70 percent and the drip and pond wetland will remove another 20 percent and in combination a total of 90 percent of the total nitrogen will be removed. The water treatment plant uses low levels of energy. Within the wetlands, Tilapia fish eat bugs, mosquito larvae, and non-living organic material. Specific plants such as the Hyacinth have been planted to assist in the final stage breakdown of nutrients. To our guests, the water plant is seen as attractive lagoons, festooned with flowers and teeming with fish and frogs, all of which further enhance the visual beauty of the resort.
Low-flow showerheads and water efficient toilets conserve water. Steps are taken to minimize the overuse of laundry detergent.
The resort uses non-phosphate cleaning products which have first been reviewed and vetted by the resort’s Marine Biologist. To save energy, the resort uses industrial-size equipment; washing equipment for linens. In addition the resort uses line drying whenever possible.
Promotional materials, such as brochures, are printed on recycled paper and printed using soy-based inks.
To minimize energy use, the resort pioneered the use of low-voltage in the Pacific region by replacing incandescent bulbs with compact fluorescent bulbs and low voltage LED lighting throughout the main buildings including dining areas, bar, lounge and reception and all the accommodation. The resort uses timers wherever possible on equipment such as pool filtration and is using a combination of timers and motion sensors on external lighting.
The property recycles all plastic bottles, metal tins, glass bottles, cardboard, paper, plastic bags and wrap, textiles, batteries, metal and used equipment and appliances. These are sent at the resort’s expense to recycling plants in the city of Suva, on another island over 80 miles away.
The resort has a comprehensive water filtration program. Water drawn from the town’s supply is first placed in large storage tanks whereby it is allowed to settle before being run through the filtration plant. This allows minor sediment settlement reducing the work of our filtration plant. Water is then filtered by a four-stage filtration system and finally treated by ultra-violet light to ensure the water is free of contaminants. The resulting water is at least as pure as commercially available bottled water.