Sharks, sea slugs and skirmishes : managing marine and agricultural resources on small, overpopulated islands in Milne Bay, PNG
Foale, Simon (2005) Sharks, sea slugs and skirmishes : managing marine and agricultural resources on small, overpopulated islands in Milne Bay, PNG. Working Paper. Australian National University, Canberra, Australia.
This paper presents data from the first period of fieldwork for the Small Islands in Peril (SMIP) Project, which is located in Milne Bay, at the eastern end of the island of New Guinea. The central aim of the SMIP Project is to generate policies for sustainable coastal and marine resource management via an analysis of the responses of people on small, overpopulated islands to pressure on subsistence resources. On such islands the swidden agriculture system tends to be under stress as indicated by shortening fallow periods, increased use of crops that are tolerant to low nutrient levels such as cassava and sweet potato, and in some cases the expansion of grasslands. People on these islands appear to be increasingly reliant on commercial fishing, primarily for beche-de-mer and shark-fin, both of which are exported to China. Income from these fisheries enables them to supplement the subsistence economy with imported food. However, despite the vast area of marine resources available to these people, there is now clear evidence of overfishing for the higher priced species of beche-de-mer. Shark fisheries are also prone to rapid overfishing and unlikely to last long under current levels of fishing pressure. In this paper I give an overview of the relationship between the cash and the subsistence economy for six small islands in the Bwanabwana language group in Milne Bay. I also present interview data on local understandings of stock status and dynamics for the shark, beche-de-mer and fin-fish fisheries, and the implications these have for management, along with a description of marine tenure regimes, and disputes over marine resources. Given the strong likelihood that stocks of shark and the remaining high-grade beche-de-mer species will be depleted within a decade, if not less, other economic alternatives for the islanders, including migration, are discussed. The impact of overfishing on ecosystem function and resilience is also discussed.
|Item Type:||Report (Working Paper)|
|Keywords:||Small Islands in Peril Project, SMIP, Milne Bay, Papua New Guinea,sustainability, resource management, overpopulation, local knowledge, marine tenure|
|Date Deposited:||01 Jun 2007|
|FoR Codes:||05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 0%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050202 Conservation and Biodiversity @ 0%
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