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Local Fishery Knowledge: Its Application to the Management and Development of Small-scale Tuna Fisheries in the U.S. Pacific Islands

Progress Reports (PDF): FY 2001, FY 1999, FY 1998 (see below)

Project Overview
It is becoming widely accepted that sound management of fisheries requires closer attention to resource users. Although fishermen are routinely consulted in the formulation of management policy, they are treated as an interest group rather than a source of legitimate resource knowledge. The lack of effective communication on resource issues between fishing constituents, the scientific community and fishery managers keeps fishermen from becoming fully engaged in the fishery management process.

Greater involvement of fishermen in fisheries management does not receive universal support from scientists. There are concerns that fishermen's prescriptions for management suffer from inadequate understanding of biological systems. This is undoubtedly true in some cases but it is simply one of the consequences of the fact that scientists and fishermen tend to be isolated from one another.

Traditional or local resource knowledge is a natural resource largely untapped by the scientific community and consequently fisheries managers. An interdisciplinary approach is critical to make use of local knowledge in the fishery management process. This project will focus on the question of how local fishery knowledge might inform or otherwise complement scientific knowledge in order to support fishery management efforts. Project researchers will study local fishery knowledge held by Hawaii handline and troll fishermen about ahi koa and fish aggregation devices (FADs) and study its compatibility with tuna aggregation knowledge of fishery biologists and compile a set of research propositions which can be formulated into a biological research agenda to address concerns about the tuna resource.

This project will focus on the nearshore handline and trolling fishery on the island of Hawaii which targets yellowfin and more recently, the bigeye tuna associated with offshore seamount aggregations. Researchers also plan to investigate the local knowledge held by fishermen in American Samoa and in the Marianas (Guam and Saipan) which might contribute guidance to small-scale tuna fishery development and management efforts in these areas.

Project findings published as part of the SOEST-JIMAR publication series:
"Local fisheries knowledge: The application of cultural consensus analysis to the management and development of small-scale pelagic fisheries". SOEST 00-06, JIMAR Contribution 00-334

See SOEST-JIMAR Publications page for other PFRP reports.

Principal Investigator:
Dr. John Kaneko
Pacific Management Resources, Inc.
3615 Harding Avenue, Suite 408/409
Honolulu, Hawaii 96816
Phone (808) 735-2602
FAX (808) 734-2315
emal: pacusa@pixi.net
Mr. Paul Bartram
Akala Products
817 Ekoa Place
Honolulu, Hawaii 96821
Phone/FAX (808) 531-5866

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Progress Report - FY 1998

In accordance to the work schedule presented in the research proposal the following items have been accomplished:

Guam troll and charter boat blue marlin fishery

The team completed the Guam interviews focusing on the blue marlin fishery. This fieldwork was aimed at investigating the local fisheries knowledge held by fishermen who target blue marlin in the Guam charterboat and commercial trolling fleets.

Samoa small scale longline albacore fishery

A briefing on the findings of the American Samoa albacore fishery survey was presented at the Fishermen's Forum during a WPRFMC meeting held in Pago Pago, American Samoa. The Council meeting coincided with a trip to Pago Pago by one of the team members (Paul Bartram). He offered to take advantage of this opportunity, at no cost to the project, to present the team's findings resulting from the Samoa small scale longtime albacore fishery field work. Details of the findings will be presented in the report.

Hawaii longtime bigeye tuna fishery

The Project team has decided to complete fieldwork by focusing on the local fisheries knowledge held by Oahu based longline, fishermen about the bigeye tuna resource. This decision was made after discussion with WPRFMC staff about the perceived value a follow-up effort on bigeye tuna local fisheries knowledge. This decision was made after the initial interviews of Hawaii handline fishermen and research scientists revealed a relative lack of strongly held beliefs on the bigeye tuna when compared with the strength of responses to belief statements presented about yellowfin tuna by both groups. In response, it was decided that long term Hawaii longline fishermen would be a group with a strong set of beliefs based on years of experience targeting bigeye tuna. The fieldwork focused on bigeye was chosen in lieu of the Saipan skipjack fishery survey which was originally planned. Bigeye survey belief statements for bigeye tuna longline fishermen were drafted and will be finalized in the next period. It was decided to postpone bigeye interviews until the bigeye fishing season slowed down in the summer of 1998. Fishermen who target bigeye are generally not as busy during the summer and will be more accessible to the team for interviews.

Next work anticipated:

In the next quarter the fieldwork and analysis will be accomplished. The project with final report will be completed within the next six months (November, 1998).

  • Complete the statistical analysis and write up of the Guam blue marlin survey will be completed.

  • Finalize survey bigeye tuna belief statements for longline fishermen with consultation with other PRFP researchers with interest in bigeye tuna distribution and population dynamics.

  • Conduct interviews with Oahu based longline fishermen with long term experience targeting bigeye tuna.

  • Statistical analysis of survey results.

  • Final Report write up.

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This page updated August 22, 2006