Wednesday, June 26 • 15:00 - 16:30
Perceptions and values of marine resources and their uses in relation to conservation management areas, practices and target species. (2)

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Chaired by: Breckwoldt, A., Fache, E. & Ferse, S.

Perceptions and values of marine resources and their uses in relation to conservation and management areas, practices and target species 
Annette Breckwoldt, Elodie Fache & Sebastian Ferse

This panel aims to highlight the manifold connections within which coastal and oceanic fisheries are embedded, largely but not exclusively focusing on the South Pacific. These connections can be of socio-cultural, socio-economic, ecological, policy or geopolitical nature and their analysis thus requires dialogues between various scientific disciplines. The panel is related to the Franco-German research project "A Sea of Connections: Contextualizing Fisheries in the South Pacific Region" (SOCPacific, https://socpacific.net/), and aims to present part of the team’s work in progress. This will involve interdisciplinary insights into various scales and dimensions of fisheries, fisheries management and marine governance in Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia, in particular on:

- local perceptions and practices in the face of (1) global changes and drivers, and (2) regional and national management strategies and policies;
- the (sometimes conflicting) values attributed to offshore/inshore places and resources by different stakeholders and societal actors; or
- the tensions between fishing and conservation interests, in particular within marine protected and managed areas.

Despite this project’s focus on the South Pacific, the panel will also welcome insights into these thematic areas based on research conducted in other regions of the world, to generate fruitful comparative discussions and collaborations.

Status and importance of offshore fisheries within the Exclusive Economic Zones of Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia 
Xochitl Edua Elias Ilosvay, Annette Breckwoldt & Elodie Fache

Pacific Islands Countries and Territories (PICTs) depend on ocean resources such as fish, due to their small land territory and thus limited access to land livestock. Their fishery resources are divided into coastal and offshore. Coastal fisheries play a crucial role for the subsistence of the local communities, while oceanic fisheries are mainly undertaken by large industrial-scale fishing vessels in the Exclusive Economic Zones (EEZ) of the PICTs, essentially fishing on tuna. The tuna fishery in the West and Central Pacific Ocean is the largest worldwide; however, it has been mostly undertaken by distant water fishing nations. This way, PICTs mostly benefit economically from fishing access rights, and the profits generated by the fishing and by fish processing industries. Given the importance of the tuna fisheries for the PICTs, research embedding the economic value of tuna industry and involved fishing nations is necessary, in order to achieve sustainable use of the ocean resources within the PICTs’ EEZs, and ensure sustainable local economic growth and food security for their constantly growing human population. Therefore, this study aimed to analyse the socio-economic importance of the offshore fisheries in three South Pacific PICTs: Vanuatu, Fiji and New Caledonia. Catch size, catch value, vessel location and generated jobs data were collected from different sources. The most fished species were Skipjack, Yellowfin and Bigeye tuna, and Albacore, using longline and purse seine gear. Vanuatu and Fiji had 72 and 70 fishing vessels registered in the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission respectively in 2018, while New Caledonia had only 14. However, most vessel Masters were foreigners and only ca. 8 % were locals. Results show that offshore fishery in the region is still dominated by distant water fishing nations, yet in territories such as Fiji and New Caledonia, efforts in regionalising the industry are visible.

Winds of change: Food security and the modification of fishing practices and natural resource use in response to altering weather conditions on Takuu Atol
Anke Moesinger

Takuu Atoll is one of three Polynesian outliers in the Autonomous Region of Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. This approximately 90 hectare geographically remote atoll is part of the Solomon Islands archipelago and, as such, the local population is inextricably linked to the surrounding ocean for their primarily subsistence- based livelihood needs. For the people of Takuu, one the main environmental concerns at present is the unpredictability of trade winds. This causes distress among fishermen, as these disturbances can greatly affect food security and create dangerous for those out at sea. This paper examines the perceptions of alterations in weather and marine conditions including storms and currents. It further explores how fishermen have adapted to these changes through the implementation of different mariculture techniques and fishing methods. These methods include a multitude of Matau, or line fishing, various Kupena, or net fishing, gleaning as well as Tridacna gigas mariculture. I argue that local knowledge of changes in weather patterns, local ecological knowledge of fish behaviour and modifying natural resource use patterns are vitally important to the adaptive capacity of Takuu with regards to changing environmental conditions.

Children’s perceptions and values of the reef and its resources on Gau island, Fiji
Elodie Fache

Children are often marginalized in research on local views of marine spaces and species. Yet, they are directly concerned by – and sometimes involved in – the various uses of these spaces and species, issues related to their sustainability, and questions regarding the transmission of different registers of so-called ‘local knowledge’ (customary, religious, scientific, technical, etc.). Moreover, they are the next fishers and stakeholders of fisheries management endeavours. Some of them might even play an instrumental role in decision-making and policy-making processes on the matter in the future.
This paper aims to contribute to the discussion on the heuristic interest of, and the practical tools for, involving children in inter- and transdisciplinary studies related to the ‘natural world’, while bringing new insights into local perceptions and societal values of local reef fisheries in the South Pacific. To do so, I will present the participatory fieldwork methods, involving drawing and ranking activities, that I applied in two primary schools on Gau island, in Fiji (Lomaiviti Province), in 2016 and 2018. These methods have allowed an exploratory analysis of how children, aged between 5 and 15, (1) represent the reef that limits both the customary fishing ground and the locally managed marine area of the district in which their village is included, and (2) articulate their connections with reef fishery resources. This work will be used to design a research protocol to be jointly applied in the three study areas of the SOCPacific project (Fiji, New Caledonia, Vanuatu) to facilitate the team’s comparison endeavours.

avatar for Annette Breckwoldt

Annette Breckwoldt

post-doc, Leibniz Centre for Tropical Marine Research

Wednesday June 26, 2019 15:00 - 16:30
REC A2.06 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam