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Traditional Information Bulletin #18

Number 18 - August 2005



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

Information Section, Marine Resources Division, SPC, B.P. D5, 98848 Noumea Cedex, New Caledonia. Fax: (687) 263818

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

Note from the editor

We include three articles in this edition. In the first, “Fishing for drummerfish (Kyphosidae) with termites and spider webs on the weather coast of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands”, William T. Atu describes a unique traditional fishing method known as bulukochi, which was used by his forefathers to catch drummerfish. This fishing method is on the verge of disappearing, and the only person who knows about it and the associated customs is Mr Atu’s elderly uncle. So Mr Atu decided to preserve some of this information here, because, as he says “With the passing of my uncle the techniques and intricate customs associated with this method will be lost forever”.

William T. Atu has set a wonderful example. We hope it will stimulate other people to set about documenting “endangered information” in their own communities. This Information Bulletin would be delighted to publish such material.

In “Indigenous ecological knowledge (IEK) on the aggregating and nocturnal spawning behaviour of the longfin emperor Lethrinus erythropterus”, Richard J. Hamilton details indigenous ecological knowledge (IEK) regarding the aggregating and nocturnal spawning behaviour of the longfin emperor Lethrinus erythropterus (Valenciennes 1830) in Roviana Lagoon, Western Solomon Islands. He also reports on his observations over the last four years of L. erythropterus nocturnal aggregation sites in Roviana Lagoon. Although the genus Lethrinus is very abundant in coastal waters of the tropical and subtropical Indo-Pacific and is important in subsistence and artisanal coral reef fisheries, information on the reproductive biology of lethrinids is limited. Most documented accounts of reproductive behaviour in the family Lethrinidae are based on the IEK of fishers. The fishing communities of the New Georgia archipelago, where this study was conducted, are renowned for their comprehensive IEK bases, which have been has been shown to be highly accurate in many instances.

As is now well understood, a good ethnographic database is an essential prerequisite to fisheries surveys. However, before ethnographic data collection can begin and studies of local knowledge started, a practical knowledge of folk taxa is necessary. Identifying a folk taxa is also an excellent way of facilitating participatory monitoring of fisheries by resource users. In “Folk taxonomy of reef fish and the value of participatory monitoring in the Wakatobi National Park, southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia”, Duncan May presents an etymological examination of folk taxa of nearshore fish caught around Kaledupa Island, in Wakatobi National Park (WNP). The suitability of folk taxa for monitoring and analysis, and the ability of participatory monitoring to stimulate appropriate fisheries management, are discussed in the context of Indonesia.

We would like to take this opportunity to congratulate Shankar Aswani, one of our frequent contributors. Anthropologist Shankar Aswani, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, was awarded a 2005 “Premier Ocean Award” from the Pew Foundation’s Marine Conservation Program. He was one of five scholars this year to receive the world’s most prestigious award in marine conservation. The Pew Fellowship in Marine Conservation includes USD 150,000 to support a three-year project. Aswani, the first anthropologist to be so honored, will use the fellowship to continue and expand his work with communities in the Solomon Islands. Through education and collaboration, he aims to establish and consolidate a network of marine protected areas designed to preserve vital resources and vulnerable species, such as coconut crabs, sea turtles and sea cows. Aswani’s Pew Fellowship will complement other recent major grants supporting his work to establish marine protected areas in the Solomon Islands. The Pew Fellowship will also enable him to carry out a project to integrate marine and social science research in ways that will facilitate the future development of marine conservation projects in the Pacific Islands.

Kenneth Ruddle


Fishing for drummerfish (Kyphosidae) with termites and spider webs on the weather coast of Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands
Atu W.T. (pdf: 345 KB)
Indigenous ecological knowledge (IEK) of the aggregating and nocturnal spawning behaviour of the longfin emperor, Lethrinus erythropterus
Hamilton R.J. (pdf: 189 KB)
Folk taxonomy of reef fish and the value of participatory monitoring in Wakatobi National Park, southeast Sulawesi, Indonesia
May D. (pdf: 154 KB)

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Traditional #18 (pdf: )

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