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Wise Coastal Practices for Sustainable Human Development Forum

Villages to conduct their own fisheries management / Samoa

Posted By: Jennifer Kallie and Autalavou Taua
Date: Thursday, 24 August 2000, at 2:13 p.m.

In Response To: The role of the village communities (Jennifer Kallie and Autalavou Taua)


A community-based project on the management of subsistence fisheries has been in progress in Samoa for more than four years and is yielding some interesting results. Several items relating to the wise practices developed within this project were posted on the Forum in 1999 and earlier this year (2000), newer participants to the Forum are directed to http://csiwisepractices.org/?read=46 (also 81, 84, 153, 156) for more information.

The project has focused on empowering village communities to manage their own marine resources. Village management actions have included banning chemicals, explosives and poisons; controlling the use of nets; banning the dumping of rubbish; and the establishment of small marine protected areas within traditional fishing grounds. Support activities by the Fisheries Division have included workshops and training, assistance with the purchase of small aluminum boats, stocking of tilapia where there are suitable ponds, and restocking lagoons with giant clams.

Earlier this year, a second review assessment of 20 of the participating villages was conducted. 12 villages have attained second scores above 85%. Good discussion amongst staff resulted in a decision not to graduate those villages who had been in the programme for less than 2 years. 7 villages will now be graduated from the programme, in other words they can now self-manage their programmes with minimal government assistance.

Currently, there are 64 villages in the programme, 59 of which have village fish reserves - obviously (and deservedly), a success story for the Fisheries Extension team. However, on a cautionary note, some problems continue to beset the programme which require diplomacy, tact and buckets of energy to resolve. These include:

- In a few cases, inter-village disputes still sometimes result in the opening of reserves, and the breaking of resource protection/conservation undertakings.

- Clam loss (theft or predation) is perceived as a reason to open the reserve/not to follow management undertakings. (Imported clams were originally supplied to restock reserve areas). However, as we have just commenced the construction of our own hatchery - there are no clams available for replacement or restocking in new villages - this is seen as problematic by some villages...

- The misconception that another project was going to supply money as sitting fees temporarily caused one of our villages to pull out of the programme.

We will keep you posted on the upcoming graduations.

Considerable interest continues to be shown in our programme - we have just hosted a team from American Samoa who want to instigate a similar programme, and later this month, a team from Tanzania will visit to observe the programme in action.

A manual on community based fisheries management, based on the Samoan model, has recently been published through the Secretariat of the Pacific Community. For those interested, copies can be obtained from: The Publications Distribution Assistant Secretariat of the Pacific Community B.P. D5 Noumea Cedex 98848 New Caledonia Tel 687 262000 Fax 687 263818

Ms. Jennifer Kallie and Ms. Autalavou Taua,
Samoa Fisheries Project,
Apia, Samoa

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