[Coral-List] Data-Less Marine Management, was Re: a plea

Magnus Johnson m.johnson at hull.ac.uk
Tue Feb 12 07:23:19 EST 2013

Hi Mike/folks,

I'm prodding here . . . 

Thought provoking posts and there is much to what you say that I agree
with.  I have one issue though - who's fish are they?  What right do we
have in our comfortable western, carbon consuming wasteful countries
where we are still trashing our own seas (as much through pollution as
anything else) to tell other people how to live their lives?  The world
is not going to move on as long as conservation is dominated by white,
middle class types and we continue to marginalise fishfolk/indigenous
folks by taking away their rights (e.g. by pointing out that they don't
have a bit of paper covered in ink that demonstrates their right to that
bit of sea/land).  International development sponsored by western
nations could also be referred to as coca-cola-isation.

I agree that in many cases it is likely that indigenous norms are not
geared up to deal with globalised exploitation and the external
pressures that come with it.  But how much of that is down to the fact
that we refuse to recognise them and value them because we live by bits
of paper (legal or financial) and equate having lots of money and owning
bits of planet with a healthy society?  Wouldn't we be better to start
with what is there and develop, extend, strengthen, encourage that
rather than making folk deal with alien and static legislative systems
for resource management?  Why are we still telling them how to manage
THEIR environments?  How would you feel if a nomadic Massai came over
here and started telling you how to look after your livestock? Wouldn't
we be better directing funds to training Bajo, Inuit, Chagossian folks
in resource management so that they can find the appropriate matches
between LEK and science?  

To go back to the original post - we need data because we think the best
way to do things is to spend a year recording what is there, then write
something down and then navigate legislation to make changes.  However,
norms change all the time in immediate response to changes in our social
milieu and are far more effective at controlling behaviour.  I don't
think we do enough to try and exploit that aspect of human behaviour -
in traditional or contemporary settings.  "Good people do not need laws
to tell them to act responsibly, while bad people will find a way around
the laws." (Plato)

Cheers, Magnus

Dr Magnus Johnson
Centre for Environmental and Marine Sciences
School of Biological, Biomedical and Environmental Sciences University
of Hull

Associate Editor, Journal of Crustacean Biology,
Editor: Johnson M & Johnson M (2013) The Ecology and Biology of Nephrops
norvegicus (Adv. Mar. Biol.)

Nephrops project: www.nephrops.eu

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