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Destructive Fishing Practices in Ende, Flores, Indonesia: The Importance of Designing Co-Governance Programs and Policy-Making in Dealing with Climate Change

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Type: Conference Paper
Author: Ramenzoni, Victoria C.
Conference: Commoners and the Changing Commons: Livelihoods, Environmental Security, and Shared Knowledge, the Fourteenth Biennial Conference of the International Association for the Study of the Commons
Location: Mt. Fuji, Japan
Conf. Date: June 3-7
Date: 2013
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/8958
Sector: Fisheries
Region: Pacific and Australia
Subject(s): fisheries
climate change
governance and politics
Abstract: "This article discusses the effects of unsustainable fishing practices (dynamite and potassium) and climate change in communal property systems among tuna fishers in Ende, Flores, Indonesia. It explores the dynamics associated with conflicts between the regulation of common pool resources and traditional practices, and their impact at the community and institutional levels. Marine ecosystems in the Eastern Pacific Ocean are experiencing an unprecedented rate of environmental change. Economic and ecological fluctuations have created new stressors that make the use of destructive fishing devices more common. In Ende, Flores, where over 40 percent of the population lives in poverty, conflicts between the regulation of depleted natural resources and private interests are prevalent. With the loss of nearly 2/3rds of coral beds and drastic reductions in the catch per unit of effort, regional governments are engaging in decentralization and bio economic management approaches. These efforts to stop environmental degradation, however, have been mostly unsuccessful, as bombing and dynamite use are still widespread in the area. Government organizations attribute the current situation to the nonregulation of traditional fishing grounds and to damaging fishing practices, directly blaming the local fishermen. But, the lack of opportunities in employment, the inadequacy of aid programs that further emphasize intensification, economic uncertainty, and corruption, all make damaging practices the best option for local people. Ethnographic and ecological research in Indonesia (22 months) indicate that despite the absence of regulatory practices at the village level, there is a strong awareness of the importance of protecting marine resources. Strict bio economic approaches to resource management are incapable of capturing the multiple intricacies behind resource use decisions and prevent the eradication of non-sustainable practices. Contrary to institutional perceptions, if co-participatory governance programs are devised, people will take part in conservation projects and aid in the control of illegal activities. Long-term sustainable policy-making requires the active engagement of all stakeholders."

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