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"Tackling coastal ‘overfishing’ in Fiji: Advocating for indigenous worldview, knowledge and values to be the backbone of fisheries management strategies"

Abstract : Since the 1990s, natural resource management programmes are expected to integrate the holistic environmental knowledge of the indigenous people concerned, and this is supposed to significantly contribute to the empowerment of the latter. Yet, social science studies have established that, in practice, this is not automatically the case. Based on anthropological research in Fiji (South Pacific), this paper aims to contribute, through a specific focus on fisheries management, to the challenging of the power asymmetries still underlying most endeavours to combine indigenous knowledge systems and western ecological science. In particular, it highlights that the concept of 'overfishing'-a decisive driver of today's coastal and reef fisheries management efforts in Fiji and beyond-tends to veil the 'connectedness in all things' that is at the core of the indigenous Fijian (iTaukei) epistemology, articulated around the vernacular concept of vanua. In the frame of this concept, human and fish behaviours are intrinsically interrelated, not only from ecological and economic perspectives, but also through fundamental sociocultural, spiritual and political relationships. The authors therefore advocate for a framing of coastal and reef fisheries management efforts that systematically (1) builds upon the iTaukei relational ontology and knowledge system, and (2) involves the local customary and religious leaders in accordance with their own worldview and values.
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https://hal.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-02194415
Contributor : Simonne Pauwels <>
Submitted on : Thursday, July 25, 2019 - 2:49:40 PM
Last modification on : Friday, July 17, 2020 - 8:35:45 AM

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Elodie Fache, Simonne Pauwels. "Tackling coastal ‘overfishing’ in Fiji: Advocating for indigenous worldview, knowledge and values to be the backbone of fisheries management strategies". Maritime Studies, Centre for Maritime Research, 2020, 19 (1), pp.41-52. ⟨10.1007/s40152-020-00162-6⟩. ⟨hal-02194415⟩

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