brad brace

6/27/2014

Pacific islands face fishing crisis

As the population on the Pacific islands grows, finding enough fish to eat is becoming increasingly difficult. Now, the fishing industry is switching to tuna to tackle the problem.

The coral fishermen of Vanuatu are facing a growing crisis: they are increasingly returning from their fishing expeditions with ever dwindling hauls. That`s because the coral reefs that they travel out to are disappearing at an alarming rate as are the fish stocks near the coast that have traditionally served as the staple diet for people in the region. It`s a similar story in the other Pacific Islands too.

A variety of factors are responsible for the phenomenon. In addition to environmental pollution, rising temperatures and a creeping acidity in the ocean`s waters – both a consequence of climate change – have taken a huge toll on the reefs.

In fact, the ocean’s chemical makeup has changed more now than it has in 55 million years. That has put incredible pressure on the region’s embattled coral reefs, which have seen their rich biodiversity diminish. More people, fewer fish

The growing population has led to a shortage of food – and climate change has exacerbated the problem

“Coral fishing in the region could shrink by 20 percent by the year 2050,” says Johann Bell, a fishing expert who lives on New Caledonia, an archipelago located some 1,500 kilometers east of Australia. Bell works with the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC), an organization of Pacific island countries and territories dealing with environmental and social issues. The decline of the fish catch presents a troubling problem for SPC members. “We have observed that the gap between the amount of fish available in the reefs and the amount that we need to feed the population is growing,” says Bell. And the numbers don’t lie: that gap amounts to 4,000 tons of fish a year. The disappearing reefs have only exacerbated an existing problem. The population on southwest Pacific Ocean islands continues to expand at a rapid rate, expected to reach 50 percent by 2030. If that happens, the islands would need an additional 150,000 tons of fish a year.

A fourth of the world’s tuna stock is found in the waters surrounding eight Pacific islands: Micronesia, Kribati, Nauru, Palau, Papua New Guinea, Tuvalu, the Marshall Islands and the Solomon Islands

But attempting to increase the catch for coral fishermen would only put the reefs under further pressure. “When you don’t cultivate an eco-system in a sustainable way, when you overfish, it is significantly less prepared to deal with the changing climate,” says Doris Soto, a senior officer of the Fisheries and Aquaculture Department at the Food and Agricultulture Organization (FAO). That is why fishermen in the region are not permitted to catch more than 3 of the 50 to 100 tons of fish pro square meter of water each year. Yet, fish forms the main diet on the Pacific islands, and remains an important source of protein for residents. As coastal fishing wanes, so too does the locals’ most basic staple. Vanuautu, like most Pacific islands, has been forced to look for alternatives. But the question is just where. One alternative would be on land. For instance, the Nile tilapia is a large fish and the most prominent example of species that can be cultivated in fisheries and aquacultures on land.

The Pacific Community has recommended the increased use of freshwater aquacultures, and the Nile tilapia is the perfect solution. Since the region is expected to get more rain in future, the Nile tilapa can now even be bred in areas which have received little precipitation so far. To catch tuna, fishermen have to venture far past the coral reefs where they have traditionally caught their bounty

But the SPC’s main solution to the question of alternative food sources lies further off the coast. Far into the ocean’s turquoise waters, huge swarms of tuna swim freely, offering an enticing alternative. But the fishing sector first needs to adapt its ways to learn how and where to catch the fish before tuna can become a fixture on lunch tables. Luring tuna to the coast Fishermen have already been forced to venture further out into the ocean in their small fishing boats for catch. That means more fuel is needed, raising costs. That`s why the Pacific Community recommends installing Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) to attract ocean fish and other sea creatures back towards the coast. FADs are usually man-made floats or buoys that are anchored to the ocean floor with long ropes. They lure tuna and other marine life that often seek protection in the shadow of the floating devices. Vanuatu has already started experimenting with FADs, installing one between the islands of Nguna, Pele and Efate. That has made it easier for the surrounding 30 communities to access fish.

“Now our fishermen can fish in the vicinity of their homes,” Mariwota, a village elder from the community of Taloa was quoted as saying in a joint report by the Pacific Community and Germany’s federal development agency (GIZ). “They are now ensured a good catch,” he said. Selling by-catch at local markets

Many Pacific islands earn a lot of money selling fishing licenses to foreign shipping companies

The approach also involves pushing foreign fleets, that catch tuna in the region on a large scale, to contribute towards improving the food security of the local population. That`s because it`s not just tuna but also other marine creatures, too small to be processed in canning facilities, that end up in the huge fishing nets. The practice has long been criticized by environmental organizations as well.

The SPC now suggests that this by-catch, that in the past was thrown back in the ocean, should be used to feed the local populace. “We want the fleets to be forced to bring their by-catch to land and sell it in cities here before they return to their home countries with the tuna they’ve caught,” says Johann Bell. Bell also believes that the Pacific islands should reduce the number of fishing licenses handed out to foreign companies. “The island countries should hold onto more of those licenses to feed their own people,” he says. His concept could be especially helpful to the islands that lie further west, like Papua New Guinea and Palau. That`s because climate change is set to affect the distribution of tuna stocks in the region. “Our latest studies have shown that climate change will cause tuna fish to head east and to subtropical regions,” says Bell. He predicts that by the end of the century, the island countries in the west could see their tuna catch shrink by up to a third, while the catch increases in the east. That is why the Pacific islands have come up with the Vessel Day Scheme, or VDS, where vessel owners can buy and trade licenses for days fishing at sea. The scheme helps reduce the amount of tuna catch and more fairly distribute the fish among the participating islands. “Originally, the system was developed so that all the island countries could profit equally from the tuna populations, which have long traveled back and forth in the ocean’s waters,” says Johann Bell. “But it is also a good way to adapt to climate change.”

9/30/2008

NZ official: Melanesian states still suffering

Corruption, disease and poverty threaten the futures of Melanesian countries that are home to 85 percent of Pacific Islands people, a top New Zealand official said Tuesday.

The populations of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are rising at a pace that is outstripping economic growth, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban said at the opening of a symposium on Melanesia in the New Zealand capital, Wellington.

The countries also suffer from youth unemployment, law-and-order “problems,” and adverse effects of global warming, Laban said. All these conditions together represent a “toxic mix” undermining growth and stability in these countries, she said.

“In combination, these factors pose clear and present danger to the ability of states in the region to provide for their people and ensure national viability,” Laban said at the event, sponsored by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

HIV, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are a brake on the region’s potential, while education trends are also troubling, she said.

Four years of communal fighting in the Solomon Islands have left education services “in tatters,” with only 70 percent of children able to access limited education, Laban said.

“To be blunt, corruption seems endemic and undermines governance at almost every turn,” she said.

Melanesian countries play a major role in the Pacific tuna fishery, currently worth around US$3 billion a year. But overfishing of a number of tuna species means reductions in catches are urgently required to preserve the industry’s sustainability, she said.

Laban praised Melanesian countries New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands for maintaining a unified front in pressuring Fiji’s military government to honor its pledge to hold elections by March 2009.

Melanesian leaders last month joined other Pacific Islands’ Forum states in expressing disappointment at Fiji’s delays in restoring a democratic government.

NZ official: Melanesian states still suffering

Corruption, disease and poverty threaten the futures of Melanesian countries that are home to 85 percent of Pacific Islands people, a top New Zealand official said Tuesday.

The populations of Fiji, Papua New Guinea, the Solomon Islands and Vanuatu are rising at a pace that is outstripping economic growth, Pacific Island Affairs Minister Winnie Laban said at the opening of a symposium on Melanesia in the New Zealand capital, Wellington.

The countries also suffer from youth unemployment, law-and-order “problems,” and adverse effects of global warming, Laban said. All these conditions together represent a “toxic mix” undermining growth and stability in these countries, she said.

“In combination, these factors pose clear and present danger to the ability of states in the region to provide for their people and ensure national viability,” Laban said at the event, sponsored by the Pacific Cooperation Foundation.

HIV, AIDS, malaria and tuberculosis are a brake on the region’s potential, while education trends are also troubling, she said.

Four years of communal fighting in the Solomon Islands have left education services “in tatters,” with only 70 percent of children able to access limited education, Laban said.

“To be blunt, corruption seems endemic and undermines governance at almost every turn,” she said.

Melanesian countries play a major role in the Pacific tuna fishery, currently worth around US$3 billion a year. But overfishing of a number of tuna species means reductions in catches are urgently required to preserve the industry’s sustainability, she said.

Laban praised Melanesian countries New Guinea, Vanuatu and Solomon Islands for maintaining a unified front in pressuring Fiji’s military government to honor its pledge to hold elections by March 2009.

Melanesian leaders last month joined other Pacific Islands’ Forum states in expressing disappointment at Fiji’s delays in restoring a democratic government.

9/22/2008

The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia

Filed under: disease/health,trobriand islands — admin @ 4:29 am

The Sexual Life of Savages in North-Western Melanesia is a 1929 book by anthropologist Bronisław Malinowski. It contains ethnographic data that proves that the Freudian Oedipus complex is not universal.

This important work is his second in the trilogy on the Trobriander, with the other two being Argonauts of the Western Pacific (1922), and Coral Gardens and Their Magic (1935).

The work is impressive for people from Western culture, because in Trobriander the sexuality belongs to the everyday life of humans. Thus for example so mentioned youth clubs are at the disposal to the young people, where they can try their sexuality out easily. This is promoted by the entire community and regarded as important step for growth. Malinowski compares its observations with Sigmund Freud’s claims on the development of sexuality.

In the preface Malinowski says that sexuality “dominates in fact almost every aspect of culture”.

Malinowski gives a detailed description of the social organization of the sexuality, i.e. social rites, partner choice, etc., “tracing the Trobriand life-cycle from birth through puberty, marriage, and death”.

Children don’t stand a system of “domestic coercion” or “regular discipline”, they “enjoy considerable freedom and independence”. The idea of a child being “beaten or otherwise punished in cold blood” by a parent, is viewed as unnatural and immoral, and when proposed by westerners (like the anthropologist), is “rejected with resentment”. Things are asked “as from one equal to another; a simple command, implying the expectation of natural obedience is never heard from parent to child in the Trobriands.” The event of a person getting angry and striking another person “in an outburst of rage” sometimes happens, and as often from parent to child as from child to parent.

In further chapters, the parent-child relationship of the Trobrianders is described with details of their complex matrilineal relationship structure, in which the biological parentage is ignored.

9/16/2008

Tok Pisin = English

tok baksait = gossip about
tok bilas = ridicule
tok bilong bipo yet = fable / myth
tok bilong ol tumbuna = tradition of ancestors
tok bokis = secret language / parable
tok grisim = flatter
tok gude = greet
tok gumi = tall tale
tok hait = secret
tok insait = conscience
tok pait = controversy
tok ples = local language
tok tru = speak the truth / truth
toktok = talk / conversation
tokautim sin / confess
tokim = tell
toksave = advertisement / information / explain
tok save long = explain
toktok long = talk about
toktok wantaim = converse with
tokwin = rumour

8/15/2008

Linearity

Filed under: General,global islands,ideology,png,trobriand islands — admin @ 4:12 am

The Trobriand Islands are an archipelago of coral atolls off the eastern coast of New Guinea. Most of the population lives on the main island of Kiriwina. The people of the area are mostly subsistence horticulturalists who live in traditional settlements. The social structure is based on matrilineal clans who control land and resources. People participate in the regional circuit of exchange of shells called kula, sailing to visit trade partners on sea-going canoes.

Although an understanding of reproduction and modern medicine is widespread in Trobriand Society, their traditional beliefs have been remarkably resilient, and the idea that in order to become pregnant women must be infused with spirits from the nearby island of Tuma, where people’s spirits go after they die, is still a part of the Trobriand worldview. In the past, many held this traditional belief because the yam, a major food of the island, included chemicals whose effects are contraceptive, so the practical link between sex and pregnancy was not evident.

Particularly interesting and unique to the Trobriand Islands are the linguistic aspect of the indigenous language, Kilivila. In such a linguistic system, the concept of linear progress of time, geometric shapes, and even conventional methods of description are lost altogether or altered. In the example of a specific indigenous yam, when the yam moves from a state of sprouting to ripeness to over ripeness, the name for each object in a specific state changes entirely. This is because the description of the object at different states of development are perceived as wholly different objects. Ripeness is considered a defining ingredient and thus once it becomes over ripe, it is a new object altogether. The same perception pertains to time and geometric shapes.

Our arrangement of history is mainly linear. My great grandfather read by kerosene lamp, my grandfather studied by gaslight, my father read by an electric light, and I study by fluorescent lighting. To us, this is linearity. This is the meaningful sequence.

To the Trobriander, linearity in history is abominable, a denial of all good, since it would imply not only the presence of change, but also that change increases the good. But to the Trobriander value lies in sameness, in repeated pattern, in the incorporation of all time within the same point. What is good in life is exact identity with all past experience and all mythical experience. There is no boundary between past Trobriand existence and the present. It can be indicated that an action is completed, but this does not mean that the action is past.

Where we would say “Many years ago” and use the past tense, the Trobriander will say, “In my father’s childhood” and use non temporal verbs. They place the event situationally, not temporally. Past, present, and future are presented linguistically as the same, are present in existence, and sameness with what we call the past and with myth represents value to the Trobriander.

Where we see a developmental line, the Trobriander sees a point, sometimes increasing in value. Where we find pleasure and satisfaction in moving away from that point, in change as variety or progress, the Trobriander finds it in the repetition of the known, in maintaining the point, or what we call monotony. Esthetic validity, dignity, and value come to them not through arrangement into a linear line, but rather in the undisturbed events within the original, nonlineal order.

The only history which has meaning for the Trobriander is that which evokes the value of the point, or which in the repetition increases the value of the point. For example, every occasion in which a kula object participates becomes an ingredient of its being and increases its value. All these occasions are enumerated with great satisfaction, but the linear course of the traveling kula object is not important.

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