Village fisheries management and community-owned marine protected areas in Samoa
- As in many tropical countries, subsistence fishers in Samoa live in discrete communities which have a high level of marine knowledge and some degree of control of adjacent waters. These factors provide an ideal basis for motivating communities to manage their marine resources. In Samoa, a community-based fisheries extension program encouraged each village community to define its key problems, discuss causes, propose solutions and take appropriate actions. Various village groups provided information which was recorded as problem/solution trees. The extension process culminated in a Village-Fisheries Management Plan which listed the resource management and conservation undertakings of the community. Undertakings range from enforcing laws banning destructive fishing methods to protecting critical marine habitats. Within the first eighteen months, the extension process commenced in 57 villages of which 40 have produced Village Fisheries Management Plans. An unexpectedly large number (32) or these villages chose to establish Marine Protected Areas, the first community-owned marin reserves in the country.
- Journal Article