March 2020: Presentation of SOCPacific at the Emalus Campus of USP in Vanuatu
In early March, while Elodie Fache and Arno Pascht were in Vanuatu, the Science Programme Coordinator of USP’s Emalus Campus in Port Vila, Dr Krishna Kumar Kotra, invited them to present SOCPacific to his students as part of a Climate Change Public Seminar Series. The presentation gave an overview of SOCPacific, then of our work-in-progress in Fiji and of our research perspectives in Vanuatu. After this presentation, Dr Krishna Kumar Kotra had organized a coffee break that allowed for extended discussions with his students.
We would like to thank Dr Krishna Kumar Kotra and his students for their warm welcome and their interest in SOCPacific.
Arno Pascht and Elodie Fache with Krishna Kumar Kotra
Discussion with a few students after the presentation
February 2020: Presentation of SOCPacific during the kick-off meeting of PACSEN (USP, Suva)
The Pacific Centre for Social Responsibility and Natural Resources – or PACSEN – is a research network coordinated by Pierre-Yves Le Meur (IRD-GRED) and aiming to contribute to the framing of an integrated, responsible and sustainable governance of natural resources throughout the South Pacific region. In February 2020, a three-day meeting at USP gathered PACSEN members based in France, New Caledonia, Australia, New Zealand, PNG and Fiji together with students and civil society organizations to discuss the contours and activities of this network as well as potential collaborations and partnerships in natural resource governance and policy. Three main priorities were identified: the development of an applied research program on community-corporation agreements and the associated documentation and grey literature (with the objective of setting up an online knowledge hub/repository), the support of policy-making processes through the facilitation of data transfer to civil society organizations and policy-makers (especially in the field of subsistence, non-commercial, and customary resource economy), and the organization of capacity-building workshops for students and other interested parties. The latter might be an opportunity for joint actions by PACSEN and SOCPacific.
During this meeting, Elodie Fache presented an overview of SOCPacific as well as preliminary results of the fieldwork conducted in Fiji in 2018-2019, while Simon Harding introduced the Western Pacific Coastal Fisheries Project (WPCFP) with a specific focus on the work conducted in the Kadavu Province. The questions of and discussions with the participants highlighted the potential of our endeavors to cross SOCPacific’s and WPCFP’s complementary approaches and data.
Group photo during this PACSEN meeting at USP
February 2020: Anke Moesinger’s report on her four-month stay in Montpellier (May – September 2019)
From May 2019 to September 2019, Anke Moesinger relocated from Bremen to Montpellier to join the SOCPacific research group at the French National Research Institute for Sustainable Development (IRD) within the research lab GRED (Governance, Risk, Environment, Development – https://gred.ird.fr/). During her four-month stay, Anke worked under the supervision of Elodie Fache towards the completion of her PhD dissertation titled “Rapid environmental change on Takuu Atoll: Local knowledge and perceptions from a Polynesian Outlier”. Anke also assisted with the formulation and finalization of SOCPacific’s transdisciplinary research protocol based on children’s drawings, then implemented by other team members in Fiji and New Caledonia between September and November 2019 (see below).
In addition, in late June 2019, she joined the SOCPacific team at the 10th People & the Sea Conference organized by the Centre for Maritime Research (MARE) in Amsterdam. She presented a paper titled “Winds of change: Food security and the modification of fishing practices and natural resource use in response to altering weather conditions on Takuu Atoll, PNG” in the SOCPacific session organized by Annette Breckwoldt (ZMT), Elodie Fache (IRD) and Sebastian Ferse (ZMT).
Thanks to her time at IRD/UMR GRED in Montpellier, Anke published the following papers:
Moesinger, Anke. 2019. Modifications to natural resource use in response to perceptions of changing weather conditions on Takuu Atoll, Papua New Guinea. SPC Traditional Marine Resource Management and Knowledge Information Bulletin, 40: 2–17.
Moesinger, Anke. 2019. Influence of socio-economic stressors on perceptions of climate change on Takuu Atoll, Papua New Guinea. Journal de la Société des Océanistes, 149: 224-234.
Returning fishermen on Takuu Atoll
13-15 January 2020: Mid-term coordination meeting in Bremen
After the Christmas break, many SOCPacific team members – Annette Breckwoldt, Espérance Cillauren, Gilbert David, Elodie Fache, Sebastian Ferse, Juliette Kon Kam King, Pierre-Yves Le Meur, Nils Moosdorf, Léa Riera, Estienne Rodary, and Catherine Sabinot – met at ZMT in Bremen for an intense three-day coordination meeting. We shared updates on the fieldwork and other SOCPacific activities conducted in 2019. We also then started planning the second half of the project.
On the 14th, the team attended ZMT’s first annual science conference, where the two PhD students Léa and Juliette talked about “Protected species and fishing bans” and “Practices of knowing and monitoring offshore marine ecosystems”, respectively. Two SOCPacific posters were also displayed, entitled “SOCPacific’s transdisciplinary research protocol based on children’s drawings” (Fache, Carrière & Sabinot) and “Look who’s asking – Reflections on participatory and transdisciplinary research approaches and their societal relevance” (Breckwoldt et al.).
The next coordination meeting is planned in July 2020, again in Bremen, during the 14th International Coral Reef Symposium (ICRS 2020, https://www.icrs2020.de/).
In the historic town hall of Bremen, and Léa and Juliette presenting their research
November – December 2019: Two weeks joint fieldwork and intern experience in Ono District in Kadavu Island, Fiji, by Ulamila Matairakula
One week after returning from Nakaseleka (see below), Kalisiana Marama (Research Assistant – WPCFP) and myself, representing the SOCPacific and Western Pacific Coastal Fisheries Project (WPCFP) team, left for Ono for another two weeks of survey. There are seven villages in Ono (Dravuni, Buliya, Vabea, Waisomo, Naqara, Nabouwalu and Narikoso). We spent two nights each in Dravuni and Buliya and one week in Vabea. There were two sets of data to be collected: the Marine Resource Value (MRV) survey for WPCFP and socio-cultural data for SOCPacific. I assisted Kalisiana in her household MRV survey as she needed to interview 15-20 fishers, depending on the number of households, in each village. We travelled on a daily basis to different villages and sometimes we would spend the entire day conducting MRV surveys. I collected socio-cultural data when we stayed in Vabea because in this way, I was able to also interview my relatives.
The most challenging thing for me was trying to manage my time between assisting WPCFP and prioritizing my work with SOCPacific. It was a great experience learning to use new methods of data collection for social science projects such as participant observations, semi-directed and life-story interviews. In most of my previous research experiences I collected biological and socio-economic data using SCUBA, creel surveys, snorkelling, face-to-face interviews and discussion forums. It was interesting having to meet, first in Nakasaleka then Ono Districts, people of different age groups, having different roles in the villages. For example, for SOCPacific we focused on key people (Pastors, fish wardens, Turaga ni Koro or village headmen, elderly men/women), while WPCFP focused on interviewing men and women involved only in fishing/gleaning or in both activities. It is a good experience having to travel on a daily basis to different villages not knowing what to expect and having to conduct surveys for an entire day, while always acknowledging and being prepared to follow the Fijian village rules.
My internship with SOCPacific has taught me a lot about my own culture, especially when I hail from Waisomo in Ono, Kadavu. Growing up in town and studying at the University of the South Pacific, I understood that there is a connection between our culture – the traditions, customs and beliefs – in relation to our ocean, fishing practises and related activities. I am grateful for this opportunity that allowed me to go out and further my knowledge and understanding on our fishing practices and management that goes beyond ecological and economic perspectives, and where I am able to go back home and share this with my family.
January 2019: Activity sum-up 2019 by Juliette Kon Kam King
Juliette returned from her first work in the field in December. In January 2020 she joined ZMT in Bremen for the second half of her PhD. On 13th and 14th January, she presented her work to the entire SOCPacific research team and to her ZMT colleagues. On the occasion of the first ZMT Annual Science Conference, she talked about the practices of knowing and monitoring offshore marine ecosystems and the challenges of maritime surveillance in offshore areas.
For her 2019 fieldwork, Juliette spent 3 months in Fiji and 4 months in New Caledonia. She investigated the transformation and current challenges of offshore fisheries by focusing on the practices of monitoring offshore ecosystems, the practices of maritime surveillance, and the development of offshore management measures, with a specific focus on spatial measures such as offshore marine protected areas. Mostly based in Suva and Nouméa, she conducted interviews with fishers, fishing companies, NGOs, scientists and representatives of regional and national institutions, to interrogate potential changes in the framing and governing of offshore marine areas and its users. She also collected data from direct observations of specific events like scientific conferences or a maritime surveillance patrolling mission from New Caledonia to Fiji.
Before going back to the South Pacific region for another phase of fieldwork, she will start analyzing her first set of data to deepen her analysis of surveillance in offshore areas and the extent to which the transformations in surveillance affect the governance of these spaces.
Longliner spotted in Vanuatu during a patrolling mission.
December 2019: Activity sum-up 2019 by Léa Riera
After her first field work phase of 3 months in Fiji and 4 months in New Caledonia, Léa will return to Montpellier in December to start her data analysis and prepare her next field work period (April-June 2020). During this time in the two countries, she has questioned the integration of conservation measures such as the protection of marine species and marine spaces in coastal fisheries management schemes. The modalities of collaborations between stakeholders from the conservation sector (international NGOs, donors, local associations, eco-tourism operators) and fisheries sectors (fishers, federations and managers) and their evolutions were investigated through interviews and observations. Léa also explored the influence of regional organisations and multilateral agreements on the design and implementation of local management policies related to coastal fisheries.
To do so, she was mainly anchored in Suva and Nouméa to discuss with the above-mentioned various regional, national and non-governmental institutions. This multi-scale comparison provided important perspectives on divergences and similarities occurring for two interrelated topics: (1) the scaling-up of management instruments (e.g. marine protected areas, species bans, size-regulations), and (2) the transformation of governance models through the construction of new coalitions of stakeholders involved in conservation and fisheries sectors. Secondly, Léa also explored two case studies (Kadavu in Fiji and Bourail in New Caledonia) where the establishment of protected areas on reef passages to protect fish resources and/or emblematic species offered parallel insights.
After the Christmas break and SOCPacific’s next project meeting in Bremen in January 2020, Léa will analyse her 2019 data and prepare her second phase of field work (April-June 2020) during which she will deepen her multi-level investigations in both sites. The perception of fisheries regulations by resource-users will be her next focus. Lea’s research falls within SOCPacific’s second thematic area: a socio-political ecology perspective on interwoven fisheries and conservation issues within marine protected areas.
On the field (Ilot Casy) with Nature Wardens from South Province (New Caledonia)
October-November 2019: Two weeks of joint fieldwork in Nakasaleka District on Kadavu Island, Fiji
This fieldwork period was jointly planned with a team from USP’s Institute of Marine Resources (IMR; Dr. Simon Harding and RA Kalisiana Marama, Western Pacific Coastal Fisheries Project (WPCFP), https://www.usp.ac.fj/index.php?id=wpcfp), and our co-supervised intern Ulamila Matairakula, who has joined SOCPacific for 6 months (Sept 2019 – Feb 2020). In fact, this means that we tried to combine two project activities during this trip: 1) a Marine Resource Value (MRV) survey designed and conducted by IMR to explore the economic value of coastal fisheries in Kadavu, with 2) SOCPacific’s fieldwork on the sociocultural value of these fisheries and on the interwoven fisheries and conservation issues.
A good correspondence with the Kadavu Provincial Office resulted in the chance of being accompanied throughout the fieldwork in Nakasaleka District by Alipate Nakasava (Assistant Roko Tui of Kadavu) and Kelera Kuli (Conservation Officer) from the Provincial Office in Vunisea. In this District, the team was based in three villages: Matasawalevu, Kavala, and Lomanikoro.
Elodie and Annette, often accompanied by Ulamila, conducted qualitative interviews and observations in Matasawalevu (in direct proximity of the Naiqoro Passage Spawning Aggregation Marine Reserve, established in November 2018) and Kavala (in the same bay as the Fisheries station, as well as where the ferry from the capital arrives twice a week). These were in the format of talanoa sessions with various community members in both formal and informal settings, with the least disruption to their planned events and daily activities (e.g., while preparing fish). The interviews covered several topics, such as local fishing methods, the connections between local fisheries management and culturally significant fishes, and changes since the establishment of this gazetted marine protected area. The IMR team visited 12 villages in Nakasaleka District (Matasawalevu, Nukuvou, Vacalea, Tiliva, Lavidi, Kavala, Solotavui, Lawaki, Lomanikoro, Nakaugasele, Nakaunakoro, Nakoronawa) and a few settlements for the MRV survey, based on questionnaires about fishing and gleaning activities.
In addition, the team organized drawing sessions in two primary schools, Tiliva District School and Nakasaleka District School, following the transdisciplinary protocol mentioned below, aiming to explore the views of school communities on the sea and the resources therein. The activity involved children from Class 4 to Class 8, and was facilitated by the head teachers and teachers of the respective schools, who we would like to warmly thank for their welcome and assistance.
This joint fieldtrip allowed for the reinforcement of the SOCPacific’s partnership with USP, in particular with IMR. It aimed to establish interdisciplinary links between SOCPacific and WPCFP, to be pursued in 2020 with the cross-analysis of the data we have collected and the feedback we will provide to the people of Nakasaleka District.
We are deeply grateful for the hospitality the team has received in Nakasaleka District, and for being allowed to learn a lot.
September-October 2019: A month of fieldwork on Cicia Island, Lau Province, Fiji
Elodie Fache, Simonne Pauwels and Mere Veitayaki spent one month on Cicia from the 24th of September until the 22nd of October 2019. Cicia has been chosen as a research site for SOCPacific as it is the first certified organic island in the South Pacific, and it therefore represents a particularly interesting case study in terms of the ridge-to-reef management approach. The team members organized individual and group talanoa (discussion) sessions about several topics, such as local fishing methods, the connections between local fisheries management and organic farming efforts, culturally significant fishes, virgin coconut oil production, daily life, and changes since the settlement on the island. In addition, they organized drawing sessions in two primary schools, Cicia District School and Mabula District School, following the transdisciplinary protocol mentioned below. The activity involved children from Class 5 to Class 8, and some preliminary findings of the comparative study of children’s views of the sea and the resources therein were given to the students afterwards. In parallel, the team immediately responded to the invitation of the principal of the island’s high school (Cicia High School) to give two presentations focused on the work and personal experiences of being a researcher. We are deeply grateful for the welcome the team has received on Cicia, and for being allowed to learn a lot.
Drawing session in Cicia District School, Tarukua Village, Cicia Island
Group photo after the drawing session in Cicia District School
September 2019: Participatory activity in Navesi Primary School, Lami, Fiji
In September 2019, Simonne Pauwels, Elodie Fache and Ulamila Matairakula organized a drawing session in Navesi Primary School (Lami, Fiji), following a transdisciplinary protocol developed mid-2019 and approved by the Ministry of iTaukei Affairs, the Ministry of Education, Heritage and Arts, and the Fiji Teacher’s Registration Authority. This activity involved children from Class 5 to Class 8. We were particularly touched by the kindness and cooperation of the teaching team as well as by the enthusiasm of the students. The drawings we collected, made by children living in an urban context, represent a valuable addition to the project.
Drawing session in Navesi Primary School, Lami, Fiji
June 2019: Participation in the 10th People & the Sea Conference and third team meeting
Part of the core team of SOCPacific have just participated in the 10th People & the Sea Conference organized by the Centre for Maritime Research (MARE) in Amsterdam during the last week of June (http://www.marecentre.nl/2019-people-the-sea-conference/). The theme of this year’s conference was ‘Learning from the past, imagining the future’. We organized a panel related to SOCPacific, on ‘Perceptions and values of marine resources and their uses in relation to conservation and management areas, practices and target species’. This allowed for stimulating exchanges between team members as well as with other participants and attendees.
This conference also gave us the opportunity to organize a SOCPacific coordination meeting, during which we mainly discussed the last developments within the project and the joint fieldwork periods that will be conducted later on this year and early next year.
May 2019: Arrival of the project’s two PhDs in Fiji
Lea and Juliette arrived in Fiji in May to undertake fieldwork for their PhD research. They are currently based in Suva, making first connections with researchers from the University of South Pacific, the Fiji Locally Managed Marine Area Network (FLMMA), a few NGOs, and the fisheries industry. Short after their arrival, they presented their research projects to the French Ambassador in Fiji, Mr. Sujiro Seam, who kindly offered his support. They also undertook a short trip to Gau Island along with Joeli Veitayaki, Annette Breckwoldt and Michael Fink.
Juliette has started focusing on tuna fisheries and their evolution throughout the years. More specifically, she aims to study (1) how data related to these fisheries is produced in the context of an increasing use of novel technologies (for instance, remote sensing), (2) how these data circulate between and are used by fishers, scientists, marine resource managers and policy-makers (for instance, to fight Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated fishing), and (3) how these processes affect the practices of these different categories of stakeholders.
Lea intends to explore the (dis)articulations between different fisheries management and marine conservation approaches and their influence on local practices, norms and values around coastal fisheries. To do so, she will in particular explore the seasonal fishing ban on groupers and coral trouts (kawakawa and donu), which results from a campaign focused on sustainable fish stocks and openly inspired by international biodiversity conservation strategies. She also plans to study the current development of direct agreements and partnerships between tourism operators and local communities over resource conservation and fish supply.
Short trip to Gau Island, Fiji
February 2019: SOCPacific Research Note online
A research note on the SOCPacific project is now available in the online version of the journal Pacific Geographies:
February 2019: The internship of Denis Karcher in Montpellier is coming to an end
From December 2018 to February 2019, Denis Karcher joined the SOCPacific working group based in Montpellier (IRD, GRED). His internship involved an extensive literature and policy review with the objective to provide a multi-level overview of the complex and ever-changing South Pacific fisheries management framework (to be later refined thanks to the data collected during the team members’ fieldwork periods). This review, conducted in close collaboration with both French and German team members, was articulated around three main questions:
- In which fisheries management related organizations are Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu (core geographical focus of SOCPacific) involved?
- How (dis-)connected are the various fisheries management policies and strategies applied to the South Pacific region, and specifically to these three study areas?
- Which recent trends can be observed in the South Pacific fisheries management framework and related policies and strategies?
Results of this review were presented at GRED’s internal seminar (‘Mardis du GRED’) and will be presented at The Future Oceans2 IMBeR Open Science Conference in Brest in June 2019 (http://www.imber.info/en/events/osc/2019). A condensation of Denis’ work towards a Journal article is also in progress and supported by several project members and partners.
February 2019: First visit of SOCPacific’s PhDs to winterly Bremen
From the 11th to the 14th of February, SOCPacific’s two PhD students, Juliette Kon Kam King and Léa Riera, went to Bremen to meet and work with their co-supervisor Marion Glaser and project leader Annette Breckwoldt. This stay was a chance for both to receive further feedback on their PhD projects and to adjust these before submission for their enrolment at Bremen University as part of a cotutelle program with the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3. During this stay, they also had the opportunity to obtain valuable information from Annette regarding their upcoming fieldwork in the Pacific, which will start in May. Last but not least, Juliette and Lea were introduced to ZMT’s researchers during the institute’s weekly palaver and thus also benefited from the opportunity to meet some of them and have a few introductory discussions about ongoing research projects. This visit allowed both students to lay the first foundations of their forthcoming stay, as they will spend the last year of their PhD in Bremen (2020-2021). Finally, they also met with Xochitl Elias, one of the two SOCPacific’s interns working on offshore fisheries in the project’s three study areas (New Caledonia, Vanuatu and Fiji).
December 2018: ESfO Conference participation and second team meeting
Eight members of SOCPacific’s core team participated in the European Society for Oceanists (ESfO) 2018 Conference in Cambridge (UK). The main theme of this conference was ‘Dealing with inequality: Pacific perspectives, Pacific futures’. The team was involved in several panels, in particular one entitled ‘Decolonizing or closing maritime frontiers: Resistance and reappropriation in the Pacific Ocean’, and two dealing with climate change. This conference also gave us the opportunity to organize a SOCPacific coordination meeting, which was particularly important for the project’s two PhDs Juliette and Léa, who received feedback on their thesis proposals.
October-November 2018: Fieldwork on Gau Island, Fiji
In late 2018, Elodie Fache conducted one month of fieldwork on Gau, Fiji’s fifth biggest island, where she had already spent more than four months in 2016. This fieldwork focused on two thematic areas of SOCPacific: (1) the social values of places and resources in connection with offshore and inshore fisheries; (2) the connections and tensions between fishing and conservation interests and practices, in particular within marine managed and protected areas. Thanks to all the people of Gau who so warmly and generously welcomed Elodie and shared with her their daily life, knowledge and perspectives.
The entrance to Malawai village, Gau Island, Fiji
October 2018: SOCPacific roundtables for project adjustments and discussions
On her first journey as part of SOCPacific, Elodie Fache spent two months in Fiji in late 2018. She met representatives of various organizations and institutions based in Suva, in order to discuss the project’s necessary adjustments as well as its possible alignment with existing activities and programmes already carried out and/or planned in the region. Interested representatives joined from the Fiji Locally Managed Area (FLMMA) network, the University of the South Pacific (USP), several NGOs, and the EU Delegation for the Pacific. A heartfelt vinaka vakalevu to all those who accepted our invitation and provided their critical feedback and inputs!
Talanoa session in FLMMA’s office
June 2018: Launch of SOCPacific
A two-day, intensive kick-off workshop gathered most of the project’s core team in Montpellier in June 2018. This workshop had three main aims: 1. getting the team together in person, most of the members actually met for the first time and could finally put faces to the names; 2. update and critically discuss the initial proposal objectives, their relevance and feasibility within the given financial frame and timeline; and 3. pave the way for straightforward, synergistic and fruitful collaborations throughout the project. It allowed convivial, inspiring and productive exchanges that set the stage well for the implementation of the project’s work programme.
Thank you, Tom Vierus (@ http://www.tomvierus.com) for these amazing photographs, which we are proud to use for SOCPacific!