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The Nourishing Sea: Partnered Guardianship of Fishery and Seabed Mineral Resources for the Economic Viability of Small Pacific Island Nations

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Author(s): Paul D'Arcy

Journal: Sustainability
ISSN 2071-1050

Volume: 5;
Issue: 8;
Start page: 3346;
Date: 2013;
Original page

Keywords: Pacific islands | marine resources | seabed minerals | sustainable fisheries | partnerships

ABSTRACT
While island biogeography and modern economics portray Pacific island nations as isolated, ecologically fragile, resource poor and barely viable economies forever dependent on foreign aid, Pacific island history and culture conceives of their islands as intimately inter-linked to the surrounding ocean and of that ocean as an avenue to expanded resource bases, both terrestrial and aquatic. Pacific Islanders live in the most aquatic human zone on Earth, with the highest territorial ratios of sea to land. Recent studies are revealing the continuity and success of traditional near-shore guardianship of maritime resources in a number of Pacific islands. Sustainable development of seabed minerals and pelagic fisheries may offer enhanced income potential for small island nations with limited terrestrial resources. As offshore ecosystems are poorly policed, sustainable development is best realized through comprehensive planning centred on partnerships between local communities, their governments, marine scientists and commercial enterprises. The success or failure of Pacific Islanders in reasserting their maritime guardianship is now a matter of global significance given the decimation of most fisheries beyond the Pacific and the vast, but uncertain, medicinal, mineral and food resource potential of this huge area of the planet.
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