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Traditional Information Bulletin #24
Number 24 - December 2008



Group Co-ordinator and Bulletin Editor:
Kenneth Ruddle, Asahigaoka-cho 7-22-511, Ashiya-shi, Hyogo-ken, Japan 659-0012.

Information Section, Fisheries Aquaculture and Marine Ecosystems Division, SPC, BP D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia

Produced with financial assistance from Australia, France and New Zealand.

Note from the editor

In this issue we present three articles. In the first, “A preliminary exploration of relationships among fishery management, food security, and the Millennium Development Goals in Melanesia”, Simon Foale uses human development indicators (HDIs) to hypothesize scenarios for the relationship among food security, commodity fisheries and human development for Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands and Vanuatu. The high rates of human population in those countries eventually threaten to upset present stability. Since it has been demonstrated that educating women is the best way to slow human population growth, the author concludes that education in this region should become a priority area for investment.

In “Nearshore fisheries and human development in Vanuatu and other parts of Melanesia”, Francis R. Hickey explores both how fisheries may contribute to the furthering of human development, and the need for alternative measures of human development. Conditions in Vanuatu and its Melanesian neighbors provide unique scenarios for exploring alternative human development measures that are not well captured by conventional indicators such as GNP, HDI or MDGs. These ideas are briefly explored from the perspective of the human development goals to reduce poverty, enhance education and promote gender equity. The author’s objective is to stimulate more interest within the region on the human development value of nearshore fisheries and on alternative human development models and measures that better reflect Oceania’s unique characteristics. Hickey argues for greater recognition of the value of nearshore fisheries, and their inclusion as an important indicator of the human development goals of poverty reduction, education and gender equality.

In the third paper, Yae Sano examines “The role of social capital in a common property resource system in coastal areas: A case study of community- based coastal resource management in Fiji”. She analyses the bonding and bridging functions of social capital in community-based coastal resource management. Strong bonds among villagers help disseminate information and knowledge within a community, and a kinship-based village structure contributes to a high degree of accountability among those villagers nominated as fish wardens, and responsible for monitoring marine resources. Sano examines cooperation between NGOs and villagers, and the congruence between institutions and local conditions.

Earlier versions of the papers by Foale and Hickey were presented orally at the 5th World Congress of Fisheries, held in Yokohama 20–24 October 2008. In his presentation at Yokohama, Simon Foale gave an excellent overview of “Gapminder”. I had never heard of it, which is not that surprising since there must be an enormous number of interesting things I’ve not heard about in the very fast-moving world of IT. So I checked it out, found it fascinating — even addictive — and thought it might prove interesting to those readers who also might not have been aware of it. You can check it immediately by skipping the rest of this, and going directly to http://www.gapminder.org.

Very briefly, “Gapminder” is put together by a Stockholm-based non-profit organization, founded in 2005 to promote sustainable global development and achievement of the UN MDGs. It does this by promoting an increased use and understanding of statistics and other information about social, economic and environmental development. For that purpose it developed the “Trendalyzer” software, which converts numbers into animated and interactive graphics. “Trendalyzer”, available as “Gapminder World”, is a web-service displaying a few time series of development statistics for all countries. Google acquired Trendalyzer in 2006, and since then the Gapminder Foundation has used Trendalyzer to produce free videos (called “GapCast”) and web service demonstrating, with the use of animated statistics, major global development trends. A GapCast converts statistical time series into moving graphics that allows trends to be told as simple story lines.

Basically this is an interactive data tool that offers a remarkably stimulating and imaginative way to visualize data. The dynamics are superb; you can run time forward and backwards, to see how any relationships might have evolved.

It is definitely worth playing around with; it only takes a few minutes to figure out, and then you are off on a great trip. I gave myself a quick tutorial by first mapping development indicators. (Select “Map” and search for patterns by selecting different national development indicators.) Next, I selected “Chart”, and compared different indicators for different correlations. From that trend analysis is an interesting next step. Finally, I tracked selected countries by selecting them, clicking “Trails”, and playing the animation. It is also very worthwhile to watch Hans Rosling’s TED presentation, using these tools.

However, a word of caution: these are addictive and potentially misleading tools. They are a way of visualizing correlations, and not necessarily anything causal.

Google (which acquired Gapminder’s underlying software) also offers the tool as a “gadget”, through Google Spreadsheet.

Another interesting effort is “ManyEyes”, put together by IBM Alphaworks. You can work with your own datasets and create visualizations from them. Please check them at: http://services.alphaworks.ibm.com/ manyeyes/app or http://manyeyes.alphaworks.ibm.com/manyeyes/page/About.html

Kenneth Ruddle


A preliminary exploration of relationships among fishery management, food security, and the Millennium Development Goals in Melanesia
Foale S. (pdf: 121 KB)
Nearshore fisheries and human development in Vanuatu and other parts of Melanesia
Hickey F. (pdf: 556 KB)
The role of social capital in a common property resource system in coastal areas: A case study of community-based coastal resource management in Fiji
Sano Y. (pdf: 253 KB)

Download the complete publication:

Traditional #24 (pdf: )


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