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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

The role of the village communities

Posted By: Jennifer Kallie and Autalavou Taua
Date: Tuesday, 1 February 2000, at 3:57 p.m.

In Response To: Community-based fisheries management / from Samoa to Haiti (Jean Wiener)

Greetings from Samoa,

Thank you for your interest in our community based fisheries management program. Some answers to your questions:

1. WHO CAME UP WITH THE IDEA FOR MPA’S? The original idea of small MPA's came from the Project back in 1995. However, the decision to declare an MPA as part of a management plan is entirely up to the village concerned. Thus, extension staff will provide information about the advantages/disadvantages of fish reserves, (amongst other information exchanged), during the 10-13 week dialogue that takes place between the Fisheries Division and community groups within the village, before the village comes up with their own specific management plan. (Extension officers have been comprehensively trained to explore all aspects, so villagers are very well aware that the advantages of no-fish zones will not become evident for many years, and that in the interim, sea food resources will be reduced). Please refer to King & Faasili (1998) "A network of small community owned MPA's in Samoa" PARKS 8, pp11-16 for more details.

2. WHO ENFORCES THE VILLAGE MANAGEMENT ACTIONS ? The village management committee through the matai's (chiefs) deal with persons within the village who transgress - traditional fines of canned fish, pigs and/or money are imposed. However, the village can also declare village by-laws, through the Samoan legal system, which facilitates control of outsiders who break village rules. Police action ensues.

3. ARE INCENTIVES USED TO ENCOURAGE PARTICIPATION? Yes, to a degree - for example, it could be viewed that supply of giant clams for restocking fish reserves, tilapia for fish farming, assistance with the purchase and operation of small aluminium dinghies for fishing outside the reef, re-introduction of depleted species etc., are the "sweeteners". However, if we can support the management committee to full autonomy, there is more chance of success of these ventures. The critical and most difficult thing is to avoid making the sweeteners, the main focus. The project was deliberately designed not to provide "goodies" especially monetary incentives and the villages were made aware of this from the beginning.

4. VILLAGE OR GOVERNMENT LAWS ? The village rules are the ones in the management plans - they are policed and enforced within the village itself. By-laws and government regulations operate parallel to this, but the main emphasis is the village component.

5. KEEP POSTED February/March sees the first implementation of "withdrawal of services". We have about 20 villages due for their second review assessment and then dependent on this score and their previous score, (from six months ago), individual villages will be graduated, worked more intensively with, OR removed.

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