[Coral-List] Supporting Jamaican conservation and "traditional" management of coral reefs...

DeeVon Quirolo deevon at bellsouth.net
Tue May 4 17:13:28 EDT 2004

Any discussion of those who have contributed to progress in the protection 
of coral reefs and fisheries in Jamaica would be incomplete without mention 
of Ms. Katy Thacker, who along with others founded the Negril Coral Reef 
Preservation Society, an ngo which currently manages the Negril Marine Park 
that she worked so hard to establish, and which will soon benefit from the 
establishment of user fees to support the park.  Katy enlisted the support 
of fishermen throughout the Negril, Jamaica watershed despite great odds 
and her legacy will live on forever.  Katy passed away this past Earth Day, 
April 22, 2004, after an extended illness.  Regards, DeeVon Quirolo, Reef 

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>From: "Joshua Cinner" <joshua.cinner at jcu.edu.au>
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>Date: Tue, 4 May 2004 18:23:00 +1000
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>Subject: [Coral-List] supporting Jamaican conservation and "traditional"
>         management of coral reefs...
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>I appreciate Melissa's message about poverty's role in resource
>degradation in Jamaica, particularly because it focuses on the human
>dimension of reef management.  Unless we understand how social and
>cultural factors influence resource use and incorporate these into
>management, we don't stand a chance of conserving coral reefs.  However,
>I have to say that having worked on coral reef conservation in Jamaica
>for two years as a Peace Corps Volunteer, despite the poor condition of
>Jamaican reefs I think writing off Jamaica as a done deal does a great
>disservice to people such as Peter Espuet, Jill Williams, Malden Miller,
>and countless others who have worked so hard to conserve coral reefs in
>what is truly the trenches of our global conservation effort.  By
>encouraging co-management through delegating management authority of
>national parks to NGOs, Jamaica has been a leader in developing a
>framework for Caribbean reef conservation and needs our support rather
>than abandonment.
>Regarding the role of "traditional" management in conserving coral
>reefs.  I agree with Chuck that proliferation of community-based
>management in the Pacific certainly holds promise, particularly because
>these strategies are often based on systems that make sense in the
>cultural and socioeconomic context of a community. However, this is not
>a magic bullet and I think there are reasons to approach "traditional"
>management as a solution to reef management in the Pacific with caution:
>First, the traditional management systems I have worked on (in Papua New
>Guinea and Indonesia) were not practiced for conservation purposes, but
>rather to meet utilitarian community goals such as providing fish for
>periodic feasts to conclude mourning periods, maintain trade relations
>with neighboring communities, and/or affirm social status of certain
>families or clans.  Reef closures were either periodic or only
>restricted certain gears and were generally practiced so that they had
>minimal impact on the community (i.e. little social or economic
>displacement).  Although maintaining fish stocks within tambu areas was
>clearly the goal of restrictions, conservation in the Western sense was
>but a byproduct of other cultural and economic needs.  High mobility,
>foraging patterns, and other social processes can appear like
>conservation, but are actually ways of efficiently or optimally
>exploiting resources based on the prevalent socioeconomic conditions.
>This "epiphenomenal" conservation can lead to a serious gap in
>expectations between NGOs, donors, and scientists on one hand and
>communities on the other.
>Secondly, very little is known about the social and economic frameworks
>that allow communities to employ or maintain common property regimes.
>As Chuck mentioned, socioeconomic factors (such as dependence on
>resources, social capital, occupational mobility, perceptions about the
>environment, modernization and even historical trade patterns) can
>influence how individuals and communities are able to collectively
>organize themselves to manage resources.  The Pacific is a region of
>profound demographic, economic, and social change.  However, national
>and regional conservation strategies are being developed around a
>"traditional" foundation upon which the resilience to these factors is
>not well understood.  Indiscriminant application of "traditional"
>management to present day problems in Pacific communities without
>understanding the socioeconomic context in which these systems can
>operate effectively may lead to disappointment with results and
>disenchantment with the process if it does not meet expectations.  In
>terms of a regional conservation strategy, this could be like building a
>skyscraper on soft sand and may do more to undermine than promote
>regional reef conservation in the long term.
>I don't mean to sound too skeptical.  I think Chuck's examples were
>refreshing and I hope more of those abound.  After completing three of
>five chapters of a PhD thesis on the subject, I remain guardedly
>optimistic about the role of "traditional" management in Pacific reef
>conservation.  However, decades after Bob Johannes' seminal work
>highlighted the important issue, much more integrated biological and
>socioeconomic research is still needed on the subject.
>"I know the human being and fish can coexist peacefully"
>  ..George W. Bush, Jr.
> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><>
>Joshua E. Cinner
>PhD Candidate
>Department of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography
>James Cook University
>Townsville, QLD
>ph: Int (61) 7 4781 5262
>fax: Int (61) 7 4781 4020
> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><> ><>
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