The Sociopolitical Dimensions of Change in Customary Marine Tenure in Southern Fiji

EPA Grant Number: U915178
Title: The Sociopolitical Dimensions of Change in Customary Marine Tenure in Southern Fiji
Investigators: Calamia, Mark A.
Institution: University of Colorado at Boulder
EPA Project Officer: Lee, Sonja
Project Period: January 1, 1997 through January 1, 2000
Project Amount: $102,000
RFA: STAR Graduate Fellowships (1997) RFA Text |  Recipients Lists
Research Category: Academic Fellowships , Biology/Life Sciences , Fellowship - Anthropology


The objective of this research project is to understand and explicate how the causes and consequences of the management of inshore fishing grounds within a customary marine tenure system (traditional ownership of inshore marine waters) are changing because of pressures from dive tourism and community-based marine reserves in southern Fiji. Additionally, the degree to which traditional marine ecological knowledge and local conservation practices are no longer utilized will be explored to aid in developing policy for the retention of practical traditional management practices.


Ethnographic techniques, including participant observation, will serve as the primary basis for qualitative data collection. Such techniques as semistructured interviews, genealogies, focus groups, life histories, and archival research will be designed to collect data on resource management practices and knowledge of local marine resources and traditional fishing techniques. Active participant observation in three paramount villages will include involvement in fishing and agricultural practices as well as village meetings, where decisionmaking is performed. Household economic data on daily fish catch will be obtained from 13 villages from two traditional fishing grounds. These data then will be analyzed through a one-way ANOVA for variability in consumption. Results then will be compared with local elites and dive resort operators' perceptions or plans for marine reserve development, and dive tourism in traditional fishing grounds. Content analysis of narrative will be analyzed through the use of specialized software for coding and interpreting text data. Using pile-sorting tasks, traditional knowledge will be gleaned for the domains of local finfish taxonomies and traditional fishing gear through knowledgeable groups stratified on the basis of gender and age. From the pile sorts, similarity matrices will be constructed, which then will be subjected to multidimensional scaling techniques. The resulting cognitive maps will serve as proxies of traditional knowledge, and will be compared quantitatively to measure the loss of knowledge between generations for each traditional fishing ground area.

Supplemental Keywords:

fellowship, customary sea tenure, marine protected areas, fishing methods, Fiji, South Pacific, traditional management practices., RFA, Scientific Discipline, Economic, Social, & Behavioral Science Research Program, ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT, Geographic Area, Resources Management, Anthropology, decision-making, Ecology and Ecosystems, International, Social Science, Economics & Decision Making, resource management, Fiji, environmental decision making, decision making, conservation, fisheries, aquatic ecosystems, changing environmental conditions, ethnoecology, conserving ecosystem integrity

Progress and Final Reports:

  • 1997
  • 1998
  • Final