Science and tradition secure a fishier future for Fiji
Phys.org, 15 October 2013

KUBULAU DISTRICT, FIJI: In a world where fish catches are collapsing around the globe, Fijian fish are on the comeback trail thanks to a remarkable blend of centuries-old tradition and the latest science. In Kubulau District, local fishers, marine biologists and staff of the Wildlife Conservation Society are combining ancient tabu (taboo) customs and modern science to manage fish stocks. The communities of Kubulau have extended their network of marine protected areas (MPAs) to cover almost half their traditional fisheries area using a mix of traditional and “western” management styles. “The practice of establishing a tabu – which places temporary bans on fishing in certain areas – goes back hundreds of years in Fijian history,” says Dr Rebecca Weeks from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, Australia. “By working together to create a network of tabu areas, and adding some large, permanently closed MPAs, the communities in Kubulau are making sure that their management efforts are better able to address the problem of sustainable fishing in the 21st century. Read the article …

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