Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Saving Disappearing Marine Resources Needs Both Scientific And Indigenous Knowledge

Date:
February 28, 2007
Source:
James Cook University
Summary:
Scientific and indigenous knowledge must join together to better manage disappearing marine resources in developing countries, such as shark, trochus, and sea cucumber stocks on the islands to Australia’s north. That’s the view of Dr Simon Foale, a researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, who studies coral reef fisheries in the Solomon Islands as they undergo rapid and dramatic change.

Solomon Islanders monitoring trochus populations as part of recent efforts by the World Wide Fund for Nature (WWF) to help prevent over-harvesting. (Image courtesy of ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies)
Credit: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies

Scientific and indigenous knowledge must join together to better manage disappearing marine resources in developing countries, such as shark, trochus, and sea cucumber stocks on the islands to Australia’s north.

That’s the view of Dr Simon Foale, a researcher with the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University, who studies coral reef fisheries in the Solomon Islands as they undergo rapid and dramatic change.

“Cultures change as the societies become more modern… the people become more detached from old beliefs and traditions erode,” says Dr Foale. “Once large amounts of money enter a region, it undergoes an abrupt power shift and the traditions are marginalised,” he says.

“Traditionally, Melanesian cultures believe in nature spirits…it is seamlessly part of nature and part of their culture…They would manage their reefs by prohibiting fishing for periods of time. Anyone who broke these rules would come under a curse.

“But traditional management tends to fall apart when the external pressure increases. When global markets expand, demand rises and marine products command high prices, the traditional rules are no longer sufficient to prevent overfishing,” says Dr. Foale.

In studies of the Solomon Islands Trochus fisheries (a mollusc whose pearly shell has been a valuable source of cash for almost two centuries for Pacific Islanders), Dr Foale found that gaps in the locals’ knowledge of the species were making their harvesting practices unsustainable.

“The Nggela people have a tradition of harvesting trochus during a certain time in the lunar cycle when they are easier to find. However, while they identified these times as good for harvesting, they seemed oblivious to the fact that the trochus are breeding at that time too.

“They assumed the trochus they harvested were replaced by individuals from an ‘‘El Dorado’’ of trochus living in deeper water that wandered up to shallower parts of the reef.

“A large part of this problem is that fishers are unaware of the connection between the adult fish populations and the rate of supply of larvae that replenish those populations. When people are unaware of the reproductive cycle of fish, where spawned eggs and sperm combine in the sea to produce microscopic larvae that disperse and later settle to become juveniles, they tend to attribute the control of fish populations to other factors, including supernatural forces,” he says.

While these beliefs remain and the pressure to harvest continues, Dr. Foale argues that these gaps in knowledge influence the Nggela people to believe they are not responsible for declines in the numbers of trochus.

“Fishers in many parts of the Pacific commonly fail to make the connection between their fishing activity and the decline or collapse of fish and marine stocks,” he says.

Dr Foale argues that sharing cultural and scientific knowledge is essential to improving coral reef and fish stock management in developing countries, which usually have little or no access to information through libraries, scientists and the internet.

“The scientific community can contribute much to sustainable marine management in developing countries, but it is critical that when they deliver it they understand the cultural, economic and political context, and the beliefs of the local people,” says Dr. Foale

“Sharing knowledge is a two way process. There is a huge amount of knowledge in the heads of a both fisherpeople and scientists. Combining the two sets of knowledge, wherever possible, will make for better management of marine resources.”


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by James Cook University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

James Cook University. "Saving Disappearing Marine Resources Needs Both Scientific And Indigenous Knowledge." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 28 February 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070215113752.htm>.
James Cook University. (2007, February 28). Saving Disappearing Marine Resources Needs Both Scientific And Indigenous Knowledge. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 27, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070215113752.htm
James Cook University. "Saving Disappearing Marine Resources Needs Both Scientific And Indigenous Knowledge." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/02/070215113752.htm (accessed August 27, 2014).

Share This




More Plants & Animals News

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

Raw: Firefighters Rescue Puppy Stuck in Tire

AP (Aug. 26, 2014) It took Houston firefighters more than an hour to free a puppy who got its head stuck in a tire. (Aug. 26) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Have You Ever Been 'Sleep Drunk?' 1 in 7 Has

Newsy (Aug. 26, 2014) A study published in the journal "Neurology" interviewed more than 19,000 people and found 15 percent suffer from being "sleep drunk." Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Great White Shark Spotted Off Massachusetts Coast

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 26, 2014) A great white shark is spotted off the shore at Duxbury beach in Massachusetts forcing beach goers out of the water. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

Raw: Elk Wanders Into German Office Building

AP (Aug. 25, 2014) A young bull elk wandered inside the office building of a company in Dresden, Germany on Monday. The elk became trapped between a wall and glass windows while rescue workers tried to rescue him safely. (Aug. 25) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins