The Namena Marine Reserve, along with the near-shore Locally Managed Marine Areas (LMMAs), are considered “qoliqoli” and are managed by the 10 village chiefs, making up the District of Kubulau. In everyday Fijian language, “qoliqoli” is an area of sea where customary native fishing rights exist. The people of the Kubulau district have traditionally relied upon the qoliqoli for their livelihood. 
In the 1980s and 90s, an increase in commercial fishing posed a serious threat to Namena’s reefs. The chiefs of Kubulau responded in 1997 by placing a total ban on fishing through the creation of the Namena MPA. 
Namena Marine Reserve is a 70 sq km marine reserve surrounding Namenalala Island. Fishing in the reserve is prohibited, but it is a hot spot for dive tourism.
In a study of the no-take reserve’s shark populations, the researchers found that the number of sharks in Namena Reserve—located on the southern coast of Fiji’s Vanua Levu Island—is two to four times greater than in adjacent areas where fishing is permitted.