An open letter to all swimmers and residents of Vila by B. J. Skane

Subject: Fatumaru Bay – help save the dugongs’ habitat

Hi all,

I heard this morning that swimmers in and around the Fatumaru Bay area of the harbour have been seeing and swimming with a dugong cow and calf regularly for some time.

Fatumaru Bay has long been known as an area inhabited by a small resident population of dugongs.

But their habitat is now under threat from not one, but two, reclamation projects the second of which, by David Sherar and Margaret Delbridge aka Oceanic Investments Ltd, is to reclaim 10 acres (40,000 square meters) of the dugong’s territory plus huge amounts of dredging, all of which has the potential to change the Bay’s marine environment forever. And with it cause the demise of the dugong families, mangroves and other species.

No proper study as to the implications of this or the other project of Terra Holdings that threatens the Bay, have as yet been done.
And all it takes for this second huge project to be given the go ahead without such a proper study of the implications for the entire Bay and surrounding areas as the first was, is for the public to remain quiet.

What is needed to ensure common sense prevails to protect the marine environment, the breeding and feeding grounds for the future of the dugongs and other marine creatures and retain the socially important aspects of the Bay for the people of the surrounding suburbs is to have a good representation of animal lovers and people who care about the environment present at the public consultation for Sherar’s project at Shefa Provincial Headquarters 10 am Saturday April 28, (opposite and up the hill from VNPF) to make their voices heard.

And for that sector of the community to further make their views known to the DEPC via written submissions toratari@vanuatu.gov.vu or PMB 9063 Port Vila by May 4, 2012.

Please send this e-mail on to everyone you know – to those who care about saving the habitat of endangered species from rapacious developers and particularly to those who may not be aware of the current situation.

Copies of the EIA report on Sherar’s (OIL’s) project can be obtained from DEPC at Pompidou and via the addresses above.

B.J. Skane