When the tide is low, Mita from Mali Island walks to the mangroves to catch crabs that she finds with her bare feet and grabs with her bare hands to make a traditional sumptuous Fijian dish to feed guests and family. Dominating vast areas of the tropical Fijian coastlines, mangroves are often perceived as swampy, muddy and smelly marine environments full of mosquitos. But the true beauty and value of mangroves lie beyond its face value. These extremely productive ecosystems are forests that transfer organic matter and energy from land to the sea, forming the base of an important marine food web. Home to a wide variety of terrestrial and marine life, mangroves are nurseries for many reef and commercially important fish species. Mangrove environments protect coastal areas from erosion, storm surges especially during cyclones, and tsunamis.