Saturday, February 18, 2012

Old and new knowledge combine to protect Fiji's fish

Efforts to protect precious marine biodiversity by combining science and local knowledge are difficult but can work, reports Naomi Antony.

Along the coastline of Fiji, threatened fishing communities have been combining the ancient and the new in their fight to conserve precious marine resources.

Together with traditions remembered from centuries ago and community approaches to marine management, they are harnessing modern science to regain their livelihoods, and contribute to international efforts to safeguard the oceans.

But finding a balance between the local and the scientific has proved tricky. Without science, communities risk pursuing practices that have little long-term impact. But too much science can trample on a community's way of doing things — destroying the morale that lies at the heart of local conservation.

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