Coastal Fisheries Programme
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Number 28 - November 2011



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

This issue contains two articles. Both examine the protection of marine biodiversity and ecological functions through a management framework that hybridises local beliefs and/or institutions with modern management systems.

The first, “Fishing taboos: Securing fisheries for the future?”, is by Philippa Cohen  and Simon Foale, both of the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence, Coral Reef Studies, at James Cook University, in Townsville, Australia. The authors review current knowledge from the tropical Pacific on periodic closures for fisheries management and conservation, demonstrate how contemporary fisheries science can be applied to the use of taboos for helping meet social, ecological and fisheries management objectives, and note important questions and issues to be asked and raised when either researching or using taboo closures for fisheries management and conservation. The authors caution that it is unwise to generalise about taboo closures, in particular owing to the great variability of ecological conditions and harvesting strategies among sites. They also caution that the use of taboo closures must also be understood within the complex and inter-related changes in social, economic and ecological contexts. Although undoubtedly useful, it is also important to keep in mind that the use of taboos will not address the deep-seated and underlying causes of overfishing. That must be dealt with at the national, regional and global scales.

The second article, “Hybrid customary and ecosystem-based management for marine conservation in the Coral Triangle” is by Shankar Aswani, of the University of California, Santa Barbara, USA. The author’s general objective is to provide applied research guidelines for designing hybrid management systems to increase the social and ecological resilience of coastal communities in the Coral Triangle region (CTR), as they become increasingly confronted by resource overexploitation and the effects of global climate change. He examines ways of enhancing coastal and marine resources management and conservation, based on alliances among international institutions and local communities, community-based organisations, non-governmental organisations, and regional and national authorities in the CTR. In concluding, Shankar Aswani notes that although hybrid programmes offer an alternative way of managing marine ecosystems comprehensively, it is important to realise that this is not a panacea for all terrestrial and marine resource management problems.

In this issue, we have included a larger than usual number of fairly recent publications. These are, first, “Poverty mosaics: Realities and prospects in small-scale fisheries”, edited by Svein Jentoft and Arne Eide, both with the Norwegian College or Fisheries, located at the University of Tromso. Second is “Managing coastal and inland waters: Pre-existing aquatic management systems in Southeast Asia”, edited by Kenneth Ruddle and Arif Satria. Ruddle is affiliated with RECERD (Research Centre for Resources and Rural Development) in Hanoi, Vietnam, and Arif Satria is a Dean at Bogor Agricultural University, Bogor, Indonesia. Third is “Fisheries management in Japan: Its institutional features and case studies”, authored by Makino Mitsutaku. Dr Makino is on the staff of the National Research Institute of Fisheries Science, Fisheries Research Agency of Japan. These three books were published by Springer, in Dordrecht and Heidelberg.

It is with particular pleasure that I bring to your attention “Explaining human actions and environmental changes” by Andrew P. Vayda who, in some hundred articles and several books, has specialised mostly in methodology and explanation at the interface of social and ecological science. His research, often crossing disciplinary boundaries, has focused both on philosophical issues and on subjects ranging from warfare and migration to forest fires and insect pest management. He has directed and participated in numerous research projects on people’s interactions with forests in Indonesia and Papua New Guinea. Still very actively involved in research on fire in Indonesian wetlands, “Pete” Vayda is now Professor Emeritus of anthropology and ecology at Rutgers University, in New Jersey, USA, and was formerly a professor at Columbia University, in New York City. He founded the journal Human Ecology, and for five years was its editor.

Although A.P. Vayda does not specialise in fisheries societies, we can all benefit by studying his approach to research and integration in the social sciences. Particularly refreshing is his perspective that integration will not occur if theory and methods are prioritised, as is now the vogue. Instead, Vayda argues that social research should focus first on the analysis of concrete events and the causal connections among them, and that theory and methods should be relegated to supporting roles. Please read this book; you will be enlightened and thereby rewarded. For sure it will make you think. And I, for one, hope you decide to emulate the approach Vayda advocates so lucidly.

Kenneth Ruddle


Fishing taboos: Securing Pacific fisheries for the future?
Cohen P., Foale S. (pdf: 120 KB)
Hybrid customary and ecosystem-based management for marine conservation in the Coral Triangle
Aswani S. (pdf: 1 MB)

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