The customary tenure of reef areas in many parts of the South Pacific offers an obvious context within which fishery resources might be managed cooperatively between customary-rights owners and fisheries personnel in government, yet the local foundations for such co-management have received little critical attention. Seven customary fishing rights areas (CFRAs) in Fiji were the focus of the present study, the objective being to compare management of CFRAs subject to differing levels of fishing access and ascertain those factors most influential to local management practices. The intensity of access (‘access pressure’) was measured as the number of licences issued per CFRA and per unit area, while management was assessed as an index, based on evidence of five aspects of management (management structure, marshalling of information for management, approach to goodwill payments, management measures and patrolling and enforcement) derived from questionnaires. Management varied amongst the CFRAs, one of the seven being essentially unmanaged because of a breakdown in succession between chiefs. There was little evidence for management responding uniformly to access pressure; rather, two CFRAs evinced a certain management aptitude regardless of this pressure, and two other CFRAs evinced relatively little management although pressure was high. A simple survey technique can indicate useful contrasts amongst CFRAs in functional local management, and thus be useful for guiding decisions about where to make investments in local management or co-management.
Cooke, A.; Polunin, N.V.C.; Moce, K. Comparative assessment of stakeholder management in traditional Fijian fishing-grounds. Environmental Conservation (2000) 27 (3) 291-299.