Social and economic challenges to community-based sea cucumber mariculture development in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea

Hair, Cathy, Foale, Simon, Daniels, Nicholas, Minimulu, Peter, Aini, John, and Southgate, Paul C. (2020) Social and economic challenges to community-based sea cucumber mariculture development in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea. Marine Policy, 117. 103940.

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This article describes the outcomes of research into the potential of community-based mariculture of the commercial sea cucumber, sandfish (Holothuria scabra), as a sustainable livelihood in New Ireland Province, Papua New Guinea (PNG). Around 5000 cultured juvenile sandfish were stocked in a 5-ha trial community sea ranch. The community agreed to protect the area from fishing until researchers collected technical data on sandfish performance. However, poaching of sandfish from the trial sea ranch occurred during the 2018 annual sea cucumber fishing season and no technical data were generated. Community attitudes and responses to the fishing season, the mariculture research activity and the failure of the trial sea ranch were investigated. Widespread community approval of the trial sea ranch and respect for the fishing prohibition were reported. However, it was found that poaching within the ranch escalated to extensive fishing because community-based management proved inadequate to sanction the poachers. Increased buying pressure and higher prices led to intensified fishing effort in the 2018 season. The trial sea ranch failed due to external pressures (i.e., brief, intense fishing season; limited project capacity), compounded by internal factors (i.e., weak local leadership; community disunity). It was concluded that research into and development of sandfish mariculture as a livelihood option in New Ireland Province might be impossible at this time due to the high value of sandfish, the annual sea cucumber fishing season, and ineffective governance at community, provincial and national levels. Lessons learned from this experience are presented and alternative models discussed.

Item ID: 63763
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9460
Keywords: Mariculture, beche-de-mer, Livelihoods, Melanesia, Socio-economic, Cultural barriers
Copyright Information: © 2020 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved
Funders: Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), National Fisheries Authority (NFA), Papua New Guinea
Projects and Grants: ACIAR project FIS/2014/061
Date Deposited: 15 Jul 2020 07:32
FoR Codes: 07 AGRICULTURAL AND VETERINARY SCIENCES > 0704 Fisheries Sciences > 070401 Aquaculture @ 50%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1699 Other Studies in Human Society > 169905 Studies of Pacific Peoples Societies @ 50%
SEO Codes: 83 ANIMAL PRODUCTION AND ANIMAL PRIMARY PRODUCTS > 8301 Fisheries - Aquaculture > 830199 Fisheries - Aquaculture not elsewhere classified @ 50%
95 CULTURAL UNDERSTANDING > 9599 Other Cultural Understanding > 959999 Cultural Understanding not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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