Community-based management of near-shore fisheries in vanuatu: what works?

In the Pacifi c, coastal communi ties have compe nsated fo r chronica lly low capacity of gover nment s to manag e fisher ies by impleme nting local regulat ions in their marine tenu re ar eas. In order to investiga te the perf orma nce of communi ty-bas ed fisher ies manag ement (CBFM ) in Vanuatu , traje ctories and facto rs of change in CBFM systems since the 1990 s were analy sed. Focal group interview s we re conduct ed in seven village s on Efate´ isla nd in 2011 and supp lement ed by a review of supp orting literat ure. Resu lts re veal the increasing and exce ssive relian ce of CBFM syst ems on externa l agencies that promot ed ove rly complex m anageme nt plans. Examina tion of tren ds in CBFM s ystems s hows that commu nity and nation al fishin g rules that were highl y acceptab le by local societie s were more like ly to be enf orced in the lo ng ru n. In part icular, th e establ ishme nt of m arine reser ves was the m ost wide spread and best enfo rced commu nity ru le for the pu rposes of conserv ation, ecotour ism, and/o r fisher ies. Overall , the results chal lenge th e curre nt effe ctivene ss of CB FM in achi eving sustainab ility of reef fisherie s in Vanua tu, and highl ight the ove r-relia nce on small mar ine reserve s as a m anageme nt tool. Commu nity initiat ives must be strength ened by new specific nation al regulatio ns governi ng subsi stence and comme rcial re ef fisherie s as part of a multi- scale co-manag ement approa ch.  

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