The Beqa Lagoon Area
Beqa Lagoon (pronounced Mbenga), located in the Fijian central division, consists of over 100 nm2 of clear water surrounded by the protection of some 30 nm of barrier reef. The lagoon contains three islands, Beqa, Yanuca (pronounced Yanutha) and Davui, as well as two islets on the barrier reef. Beqa Island contains lush jungle and fresh water streams flowing on the island’s high peaks which overlook the nine villages that inhabit about 2000 residents. Six miles to the west, the smaller island of Yanuca, with staggering white sandy beaches, houses a village of about 250 inhabitants.
The lagoon houses an abundance of marine life in a variety of habitats: from seahorses disguised in the shallow seagrass meadows and vibrant juvenile fish hidden among the mangrove forest roots; to sea turtles browsing around coral gardens and the charismatic bull and tiger sharks cruising along the outer reefs along the dark blue waters that plunge hundreds of meters deep. Acrobatic dolphins can be found jumping all over while migrating humpback whales come to relax in the lagoon’s warm waters.
The Beqa people have been living here for a couple of thousands years, with a tradition embedded in the surrounding lands and waters; home of the legendary firewalkers, and birthplace of the shark gods. Similar to the majority of south Pacific islanders, the residents in the Beqa lagoon region hold formal tenure rights over their land and traditional fishing rights over their coastal waters, called qoliqoli (pronounced nGoli – nGoli), making fisheries a major source of food and income to these communities. Recently, with the instigation and coordination of PBF, two Marine Protected Areas (MPA) were declared in the lagoon.
Home of the legendary firewalkers and birthplace of the shark gods.