News and Activities

April 2023: A final poster of our SOCPacific research has been developed and designed by Elodie Fache and the core team, and implemented beautifully by science communication artist Stéphanie Hernandez.

Final poster SOCPacific

February 2023: A feature of our recent work on reef passages in New Caledonia has been published on IRD’s website:

Capture IRD article

December 2022: Special Section “Oceania: A Sea of Connections” in Ambio (open access)

 SOCPacific’s team members and partners put together a Special Section “Oceania: A Sea of Connections” published with open access in Ambio – A Journal of Environment and Society. This Special Section includes: an introduction entitled “A Sea of Connections: Reflections on Connectivity from/in Oceania” by E. Fache, J. Kon Kam King, L. Riera, A. Breckwoldt; eight original research papers; and a very compelling Epilogue by A. Mawyer and F. McCormack.

This Special Section proposes to superimpose on Epeli Hau’ofa’s view of Oceania as ‘a sea of islands’ a conceptualisation of Oceania as ‘a sea of connections’, highlighting the multiple meanings and expressions of ocean connectivity from/in Oceania, with case studies from Fiji, French Polynesia, New Caledonia, and Vanuatu. This ‘sea of connections’ shapes (and, in turn, is shaped by) a land-sea continuum, to be considered from both the surface and depths of the Pacific Ocean, and whose health and sustainability are essential to the well-being and future(s) of Oceanians. This land-sea continuum is home to ‘ecological and cultural keystone’ places and species that should be considered through inter- and transdisciplinary approaches to tackle their multi-faceted character. The very use of this expression, ‘a sea of connections’, is intended to emphasize the need for an expanded notion of ‘ocean connectivity’, one that is all at once what we might think of as geo-physical, biological, ecological, cultural, social, political, etc. The various contributions to this Special Section (cf. this Factsheet) also reveal, via their different themes and empirical approaches, the need to move beyond a narrow understanding of both ‘connectivity’ and ‘sovereignty’, and to explore the relationships between these two interrelated and continually unfolding processes.

Skärmbild 2022-08-25 113500

September-November 2022: Follow-up work with school-children in Vanuatu

In the frame of connections between SOCPacific and two other research projects (on marine management norms and on family farming in Oceania), Catherine Sabinot, Gilbert David, Pierre Metsan and Arno Pascht pursued the investigation of how ni-Vanuatu children relate to fishing and the sea; an investigation that was initiated in March 2020 but suddenly stopped by the Covid-19 pandemic…

They conducted, in pair or trio, drawing workshops in five schools across Vanuatu: two schools on Santo (Port Olry and Luganville), two schools on Tanna (Imakel and Lenakel), and Malatia primary school on Efate. More than 90 children made a drawing in response to the following instruction (in bislama): Yu traem drowen las taem we yu go lukataem ol kakai lo sol wara? Short individual interviews or a group discussion were then conducted with these children.

In addition, in three of these study sites, the team went fishing with children to better understand their fishing and gleaning knowledge and practices (as well as similarities and differences with those of adults).

The processing and analysis of the collected data is still in progress!


The student Jeanne Rapoupoul in Port Olry, Vanuatu, showing her beautiful drawing

September 2022: SOCPacific’s final coordination meeting in Bremen

As SOCPacific will officially end in October 2022, part of the team met at ZMT in Bremen during the last week of September. This final coordination meeting mainly allowed us to:

  • reflect on the achievements of the project, including the involvement as interns and consultants of a dozen of students, with some of them highlighting the work they carried out and what they have been doing since then;
  • collectively discuss what has been done in terms of data sharing and – most importantly – what remains to be done and how this can be done in 2023; and
  • consider the next steps of our French-German-Pacific partnership on inter- and transdisciplinary issues such as the social-ecological roles of reef passages.

In addition, SOCPacific’s two PhD students, Léa Riera and Juliette Kon Kam King, shared with the team an update on their research and results.


Online and in-situ participants of the final coordination meeting (from upper left to lower right: Xochitl Elias, Jan Bierwirth, Justine Celestin, Estienne Rodary, Denis B. Karcher, Simon Harding, Elodie Fache, Annette Breckwoldt, Simonne Pauwels, Arno Pascht et Pierre-Yves LeMeur; Photo by: Andrea Daschner, ZMT)

Early July 2022: SOCPacific’s workshop at the ICRS Conference in Bremen

The 15th International Corel Reef Symposium (ICRS), organized by the University of Bremen, was the first in the more than 50-years history of the ICRS that took place in Europe. A few members and partners of SOCPacific have participated in this conference, where anyone interested in reefs was welcome. In particular, Elodie Fache and Patrick Christie held a ZMT lunchtime seminar on “Engaging communities in dialogue to understand ocean connectivity and improve ocean management”, and Annette Breckwoldt and Elodie Fache organized a SOCPacific-related ICRS workshop on the following topic: “How important are oceanic fisheries for a) coastal marine resource use and management, and b) food security of island populations?”. This workshop involved about two hours of very interesting discussions between researchers (early-career and more experienced) from across the globe with different profiles and interests, several of whom were part of the ‘Pacific delegation’ (from Guam, Northern Mariana Islands, Hawai’i…). The members of this delegation were funded by the National Science Foundation to attend the ICRS, and stayed one week longer following the conference in order to visit (with the organizational support by Sebastian Ferse and Annette Breckwoldt) some labs at the University of Bremen, the permanent exhibition on Oceania at Bremen’s ‘Übersee-Museum’, as well as the ZMT and its mariculture facilities, among others.

23 June 2022: Léa Riera’s PhD defense in Montpellier

The SOCPacific team is very happy to announce that Léa Riera, who started her PhD research as part of this project in 2018, submitted in spring a very compelling thesis, entitled From Tensions to Integrations: Development and Conservation Coalitions in Fijian Coastal Fisheries Management. On the 23rd of June, she defended her thesis at the University Paul Valéry in Montpellier (France) in front of a jury composed of (by alphabetical order): Simon Batterbury from the University of Melbourne, Annette Breckwoldt from ZMT, Marie-Christine Cormier-Salem from IRD, Elodie Fache from IRD, Michael Flitner from the University of Bremen, Marion Glaser from ZMT, Alexander Mawyer from the University of Hawai’i, and Estienne Rodary from IRD. While Marion and Alexander attended the defense online, all other jury members gathered in Montpellier. After Léa presented her work and its main results to them and the audience, the jury members asked her various questions, which she answered brilliantly. Léa therefore passed with honours – or in the German system with the grade ‘magna cum laude’. Congratulations Léa!
We also took the opportunity of Léa’s defense to organise a side-event in Montpellier on the 24th of June: a one-day workshop, entitled ‘Accounting for multiple natures: A political ecology perspective’. This workshop allowed to put some of the research conducted as part of SOCPacific into dialogue with the field of political ecology and questions of environmental justice. This was very much appreciated by the Montpellier-based colleagues and students who attended this side-event.

Léa with Annette and Michael, who travelled from Bremen to Montpellier for her PhD defense (left)
Programme of the side-event, with photos of Juliette and of Michael & Estienne (right)

14-15 June 2022: Elodie & Arno (re)presented SOCPacific at the FRAL Conference in Paris 

SOCPacific was invited to the conference organized in Paris for the 15th anniversary of the ANR & DFG’s joint program in social sciences and humanities (FRAL), which has allowed us to carry out this project. Elodie Fache and Arno Pascht therefore went to Paris to represent the team and present the project – respectively in French and in German – in a thematic panel on ‘territories, environments, natural resources’.

FRALArno & Elodie at the FRAL Conference in Paris

Early June 2022: Participation of the SOCPacific team in the ESfO Conference

The European Society for Oceanists (ESfO)’s Conference 2022 was held in early June in Corsica, a French Island, and its general theme was ‘Material and Immaterial in Motion’. The SOCPacific team organized a session on Pacific fisheries in a ‘sea of connections’, with 6 contributions highlighting various dimensions of the web of (dis-/re-)connections in which fishing occurs in Oceania:

  • Elodie Fache: Exploring Pacific fisheries through children’s drawings
  • Pierre-Yves Le Meur: The Forgotten Coast, New Caledonia, between minescape, fishing practices and terraqueous territoriality
  • Catherine Sabinot: Sense of place and sea cucumber fishery in New Caledonia and Vanuatu
  • Laure Vaitiare André: Logics and constraints of the use of coastal marine space, for fishers – What are the drivers of the choice of fishing grounds?
  • Juliette Kon Kam King: Fishing for information about tuna fisheries in the South Pacific: Onboard fisheries observers, between science, management and compliance
  • Yvy Dombal & Annette Breckwoldt (pre-recorded presentation): A social-ecological engagement with reef passages in New Caledonia – connectors between coastal and oceanic spaces and species

Each team member who participated in this session in person presented a joint paper on behalf of their co-authors who were unfortunately unable to attend the conference. This was a great opportunity to present and discuss some of the project’s results, while connecting with long-standing and new colleagues, within and beyond this session.

Photo ESfO

Catherine Sabinot presenting a joint paper on the sea cucumber fishery in New Caledonia and Vanuatu
& Simonne Pauwels, Juliette Kon Kam King, Laure Vaitiare André, Catherine Sabinot, Elodie Fache, and Pierre-Yves Le Meur (from left to right) at the end of the session

Elodie also presented the research network on which SOCPacific relies – and the future research perspectives it has created – as part of a roundtable on “Collaboration networks on Pacific Islands’ research in Europe and beyond” convened by Elisabeth Worliczek and Matthias Kowasch.

March 2022: Cooperation with the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea


As blogged in December 2021 (see earlier post below), SOCPacific’s team had the opportunity to collaborate with the unique Okeanos Foundation for the Sea, specifically its crew and Vaka Motu in Vanuatu, who returned from their journey in January 2022 with lots of photographic and film material – from above and below the ocean surface. While the interviews of the local crew with community members (elders and fishers, both men and women) in Lembenwen (South West Bay, Malekula) and Maskelyne focused on short stories around the many meanings, values and uses of two reef passages, the hired ni-Vanuatu videographer could in addition take some beautiful airborne drone footage of the area. For ZMT and SOCPacific, this was the first joint research mission with Okeanos, but hopefully not the last. The interviewed community members were also eager to further collaborate, and to figure out ways in which SOCPacific researchers could support further local management and protection efforts. While the team is still analyzing the videos and interviews, this collaboration has already attracted some media attention:

March 2022 and ongoing: Exhibition of children’s drawings from Fiji and New Caledonia

As planned, the exhibition at the library in Juvignac (see earlier post from December 2021), travelled from southern France to northern Germany (Bremen) in March 2022, where it framed the annual general meeting of the German Pacific Network. This meeting featured both Juliette Kon Kam King’s and Léa Riera’s research, as well as the topics of Michael Flitner’s working group, the supervisor of both theses at Bremen University. We were hoping that, later in 2022, the exhibition could also be presented in Fiji and in New Caledonia – which have been greatly impacted in 2021 by the Covid-19 pandemic – especially in the respective local schools. While this objective could not yet be reached, the exhibition made it from Bremen down south to Neuendettelsau, from where it will hopefully travel at least to a few schools in Germany.

February 2022: ‘Right Place’ for Sharks

Juliette Kon Kam King and Léa Riera are pleased to announce that their joint article “The ‘Right Place’ for Sharks in the South Pacific: Marine Spatial Planning in a More-Than-Human Ocean” has recently been published in Planning Practice and Research as part of an upcoming special issue on Marine Spatial Planning. Drawing on results from their 2019 fieldwork, the article reflects on the influence of non-humans on marine spaces and activities and their incorporation (or lack thereof) in marine spatial planning practices. It explores two case studies related to shark management in Beqa (Fiji) and Noumea (New Caledonia).

Kon Kam King J. and L. Riera. 2022. The ‘Right Place’ for Sharks in the South Pacific: Marine Spatial Planning in a More-Than-Human Ocean. Planning Practice & Research. DOI: 10.1080/02697459.2022.2035918.

Throughout 2022: Special Issue in Ambio

One of the objectives for SOCPacific’s final year was a special issue in a peer-reviewed journal, for which we selected (and more importantly got selected by) the peer-reviewed and internationally renowned Ambio – A Journal of Environment and Society.

The title of this Special Issue is ‘Oceania: A Sea of Connections’, and the idea is – with the timely and broad variety of perspectives presented by the individual articles – to show both continuities and changes in various types of connections, in order to discuss potential reasons for these and/or local adaptations to these. The first paper has been already accepted – written by Elodie and Simonne. With Bo Söderstrom as Editor-in-Chief, and Fiona McCormack and Alexander Mawyer as Guest Editors, we are honored and grateful to be in the capable hands of such an excellent editorial team. The team – Elodie, Juliette, Léa and Annette – is looking forward to the final collection of all contributions!

December 2021 – February 2022: Cooperation with the Okeanos Foundation for the Sea

The ‘crew’ of SOCPacific has the honour to collaborate with the local (proper) crew of Okeanos Vanuatu, part of the unique Okeanos Foundation for the Sea. Based on a cooperation agreement with SOCPacific, two reef passages (Lutes and Lembenwen) are visited by the ni-Vanuatu crew and their Vaka. A hired videographer focuses on short stories around the many meanings, values and uses of these reef passages and the related inshore and nearshore fisheries around Maskelyne Island. Okeanos Foundation for the Sea is a German philantrophic organization active in the Pacific and in Europe that supports Pacific Island States in their efforts to operate and build fossil-fuel free traditional sailing canoes (Vakas) for passenger and cargo transportation needs, culturally based education and research. Okeanos and its Pacific Islands-led social enterprises share this vision for a sustainable future built on respect for traditional knowledge, environmental stewardship, biodiversity, holistic place-based education and development strategies, and to revive Pacific voyaging skills. The Okeanos Vanuatu Vaka is thus building a bridge scientifically and culturally between Europe and SOCPacific’s research in this pandemic-affected ‘new world’. We cannot wait to hear and see the stories that will emerge from this collaboration!

December 2021: Exhibition of children’s drawings from Fiji and New Caledonia

Between September and November 2019, the SOCPacific team involved 290 children from Fiji and New Caledonia in the research process through the organization of drawing workshops in local schools. All children were given the same drawing instruction: “Draw the sea and what you and others do in the sea” (translated in their daily language).
In December 2021, an exhibition at the library ‘Théodore Monod’ in Juvignac, near Montpellier (France), highlighted the topics that were most recurrent in these children’s drawings, namely:

  • the inseparability between the sea and the land;
  • the beach as a recreational place;
  • the richness of the underwater world;
  • the economic, ecological and/or cultural significance of marine species;
  • the central role of fisheries in daily life;
  • the children’s awareness of destructive fishing activities and marine pollution issues, as well as of the need to manage those.

Each topic was illustrated by a selection of drawings. This exhibition was very much appreciated by both children and adults. On 8th December 2021, Elodie and Léa also invited some of the children who regularly use the library to make a drawing or a collage in response to the exhibition.
This exhibition will then be presented in Bremen in March 2022. We hope that, later in 2022, it can also be presented in Fiji and in New Caledonia – which have been greatly impacted this year by the Covid-19 pandemic – especially in the respective local schools. Let’s hope that the next school year can go smoothly…

See also:

November 2021: SOCPacific Ph.D. students Léa and Juliette visiting in Bremen

Both Léa Riera and Juliette Kon Kam King travelled to Bremen as part of their co-tutelle with the Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 University and the University of Bremen. They stayed at ZMT and met with several members of the SOCPacific team from the German side (Annette Breckwoldt, Marion Glaser, Sebastian Ferse) and the rest of the ZMT Social Science Department. They also worked with Michael Flitner, their Ph.D. supervisor at ARTEC (University of Bremen), and attended two fisheries-related conferences organized by his lab. The stay aimed at progressing on the writing of their manuscripts as well as participating in the SOCPacific yearly project meeting.

April-October 2021: A desk-based internship, by Justine Celestin

During my second year of master’s in international development at the University Paul-Valéry Montpellier 3 (France), I was given the opportunity to join the SOCPacific project as an intern for a duration of six months (from April 2021 to October 2021). The task mainly consisted in studying the terms ‘oceanscape’ and ‘seascape’ through a desk-based literature and policy review. I created a corpus composed of both scientific articles from around the world and policy documents related to the South Pacific, with the objective to understand the different uses and meanings of these two terms – ‘oceanscape’ and ‘seascape’.
Having studied over 50 documents, the most challenging part of this internship for me was picking and choosing the most relevant information to analyze and put forward. However, with the great help from my internship advisor, one of SOCPacific’s principal investigator, Elodie Fache, I was able to work on my synthesis skills, which were translated into my master’s dissertation titled “Oceanscape & Seascape”.
Being an intern for the SOCPacific project has taught me so much about the South Pacific region. Being an Islander myself (from Haiti), I found it fascinating how intimate the relationship between the islanders of the Pacific and the Ocean is – an intimacy that is not found in Haiti between its people and the Caribbean Sea. Being a small country in the Caribbean, Haiti shares the Island of Hispaniola with the Dominican Republic. Due to the focus put on agriculture and farming by the French colonies, fishing has never been the primary activity in the livelihoods of Haitians. Therefore, an intimate relationship with the ocean and/or sea has never really been forged. This internship has led me to realize that I enjoy the field of research. Therefore, I will be working on developing a PhD proposal in the year to come.


June & September 2021: New MARE Podcast ‘on air’ about doing fieldwork and research on Kadavu

ARD MARE podcast captureIMG_20210609_121941408

In June 2021, Annette was invited to Radio Bremen, the main local radio station in Bremen (Germany), to contribute to the new MARE podcast collection on ‘ocean stories’ (Geschichten vom Meer, in collaboration with the MARE Verlag). This podcast went online on 21st September and is accessible via the link below. Annette was invited by moderator Zozan Moench to talk about research life and work in Fiji in general – for example the sevusevu, what’s so interesting about reef passages, and core aspects of our research focus on including children and school drawing activities in SOCPacific’s research agenda, a part that was of particular interest for the moderator. Here is the full link to the podcast, which is unfortunately only in German.

For wider advertisement of the podcast in social media, a short video was made for facebook/instagram. Unfortunately, it is also in German, but below the link is a rough translation.

Kadavu is one of the more than 300 islands of Fiji in the South Pacific.

Marine biologist Annette Breckwoldt made a research trip there.

“It is the fourth biggest island of Fiji, and it is very different from the other islands. Everything seems incredibly fertile, and the people are extremely kind.”

She’s doing research on fisheries that play a critical role for the people on Kadavu.

“We particularly learn and experience how they are using their resources, what they use to sustain themselves, i.e. what they use as food every day, or which part of the catch can be sold, or given to families who cannot go out fishing for the time being.”

In Fiji, many children come along on fishing trips, or even start fishing themselves, at an early age. For this reason, Annette and her colleague included children in their research and asked them: Please draw what you and others do in the saltwater.

“And the outcome was really exciting/interesting, we received several hundred children’s drawings, with the most diverse details; partly with an extremely good knowledge of what really exists beneath the ocean’s surface.“

The children’s drawings show that they grow up surrounded by an immense diversity of life. And this diversity needs particular protection around these islands. In that way, the children’s drawings guide future coastal and marine research.

“Indeed, it is still very unusual to have children participate in coastal and marine research; but in places where they will be the next main resource users in only a few more years – if they stay on these islands – such research is incredibly rich and worthwhile pursuing. “

To better protect the ocean and its inhabitants – and ultimately also the people of Kadavu.

March 2021: Fieldwork on Kadavu of USP interns Alisi Soderberg and Sheemal Lata

Alisi and Sheemal visited Vunisea and Nakasaleka District where they were accompanied by and greatly benefited from the assistance of the Conservation Officer, Kelera Kuli.

Sheemal and Alisi

Their research focused on two aspects:
1. To get a better understanding of the local management of marine and coastal waters;
2. To assess the economic value of Kadavu’s coastal fisheries whereby the relationships and linkages between fishers, buyers and sellers of Kadavu’s coastal finfish are understood.
The local management of marine and coastal waters efforts was studied through face-to-face interviews with a few local leaders, community members, tabu area committees and fish wardens. They also had some face-to-face interviews with some government officers in Vunisea. As for the assessment of the economic value of Kadavu’s coastal fisheries, it was conducted using standard questionnaires for eatery/restaurant proprietors, fishers and middle(wo)men/agents, in the two districts. Also, a previously interviewed middle woman in Nakasaleka District was interviewed again for the purpose of knowing the progress of her business as she had recently started with the business.

March 2021: Leibniz’ ‘Book a Scientist’ event and IGU’s Commission on Islands

On 18th March 2021, Book a Scientist offered a unique chance to ‘speed-date’ and talk to an expert from the Leibniz Association for 25 minutes. The one-on-one sessions took place online, and this year, seven researchers participated from ZMT (incl. Marion, Annette and Nils), with an exciting mix of social and natural science topics from the marine research.

Book a scientist

Annette’s session was (of course) on reef passages.

In the same week, Annette got invited to act as Vice-Chair for IGU’s Commission on Islands, by the acting Chair Prof. Dr. Huei-Min Tsai from the National Taiwan Normal University (NTNU) in Taipei.

Capture IGU CI

Together with the Executive Secretaries Prof. Su-Hsin Lee and Dr. Mucahid Bayrak from NTNU’s Geography Department, a Facebook page was also just started – you are all welcome to post messages there. There are some interesting conferences to which we would like to contribute, for example the IGU 100th anniversary congress in Paris 2022 – take a look!

Febuary and March 2021: IMBRSea student Jan Bierwirth took a dive with us for his internship


I am in the second year of the international master’s programme “Marine Biological Resources” (IMBRSea) and recently had to postpone my final thesis due to the pandemic. But fortunately – as one door closes, another one opens – I had the exciting opportunity to join Annette Breckwoldt (ZMT) and Elodie Fache (IRD) as an intern for about 2 months. During that time, I was mainly working on a scientific literature review about the broader socio-ecological importance of reef passages to Pacific Island States and communities. The main objectives of the internship were to: a) investigate if any sort of scientific classification of reef passages/channels/passes/corridors exists, b) gather information on the ecological and social role that reef passages play for marine ecosystems and small islandic communities, and c) assess whether reef passages are acknowledged within current conservation and marine spatial planning frameworks and management actions with a focus on Fiji, Vanuatu and New Caledonia.
Although being completely remote, it was a great opportunity to get more practical experience and an insight in working within an international team of scientists. I am glad I was able to have contributed to their ongoing work and thankful for all the different opportunities that have arisen from the internship. I further hope and am looking forward to keeping up the collaboration and exchange in the future.” (Jan Bierwirth)

21st January 2021: ZMT’s (second) Annual Conference (ZAC2)

Annually, a conference for internal scientific exchange is held at ZMT to foster the inter- and transdisciplinary cooperation among all ZMT scientists, staff and guests. This year’s ZMT Annual Conference (ZAC2) was held entirely online, and two SOCPacific presentations were given:

Juliette Kon Kam King and Léa Riera: Baiting Sharks into their ‘Right Place’: Marine Spatial Planning in a More-Than-Human Ocean.

Annette Breckwoldt, Alexandra Nozik and Nils Moosdorf: Reef passages in Fiji and New Caledonia.

If you want to find out more, have a look at the ZAC2 booklet !

2-3 December 2020: 4th SOCPacific coordination meeting (online)

For the previous coordination meeting, held in Bremen in January 2020, some of us could still meet in person. Since then, the pandemic has had significant impacts on SOCPacific and its entire team. Despite this hectic situation, some activities could be tackled successfully (see below), and the team has in general remained very enthusiastic and engaged. Yet, it was and remains important to discuss how to deal with the uncertainty impacting our research for 2021.
Therefore, all members and partners who were available gathered for a virtual meeting in early December, with four main objectives:

  • To share updates since the January meeting;
  • To discuss perspectives and developments for 2021;
  • To scan over the project’s initial objectives and expected outcomes to consider and acknowledge our status quo; and
  • To launch the planning phase for the collective writing of a special issue, targeting contributions from the project’s participants and beyond.

It was great and inspiring to exchange ideas and discuss development options for the project, even if this was mediated by screens! Finally, special Kudos to Juliette and Léa, for their strength and perseverance in these more than challenging times!

August 2020: Juliette Kon Kam King attends the WCPFC 16th scientific committee with the New Caledonian delegation

Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, the Western and Central Pacific Fisheries Commission (WCPFC) – the regional fisheries management organization (RFMO) of the Western and Central Pacific Ocean – held its 16th annual scientific committee from the 11th to the 20th of August 2020. The purpose of this committee is for WCPFC members to discuss the latest science and stock assessment estimates on tuna and tuna-related species WCPFC is responsible for, and to agree on management recommendations and forthcoming scientific projects.
Given the peculiar context, the committee was organized as an online meeting. Juliette Kon Kam King was allowed by the New Caledonian government to join its delegation and attend this event as an observer, as part of her ongoing research on the monitoring and management of offshore ecosystems in the frame of SOCPacific. Prior to the WCPFC Scientific Committee, Juliette also observed the Pre-Assessment Workshop organized (also electronically) in May 2020 by the main scientific provider of WCPFC, the Oceanic Fisheries Programme of the Pacific Community, to discuss the models and parameters supporting the stock assessments presented to the WCPFC 16th Scientific Committee. The combination of these information provides valuable insights into the practices of fishery science and management and its interactions with the political sphere.

July 2020: Juliette Kon Kam King collaborates with the team of “METMUT”

Last July, Juliette Kon Kam King was invited by fellow researchers from the research project “METMUT” to test a serious game on offshore tuna fisheries.
METMUT stands for “Métiers en mutation” (Transforming professions). Coordinated by Pierre-Yves Le Meur and Nastassia Reyes and funded by the Fondation de France, this project enquires into the ongoing transformations of the French purse seine tuna industry in the Atlantic and Indian Oceans, in line with the development of Fish Aggregating Devices (FADs) technology. Involving Nastassia Reyes, Manon Airaud (PhD Student in anthropology), Pierre-Yves Le Meur and Estienne Rodary – the two latter also being members of the SOCPacific team – the METMUT team worked on the creation of a ‘serious game’ with Jean-Emmanuel Rougier, the director of LISODE (a firm based in Montpellier and specialized in participatory methodologies), to simulate the functioning of the tuna fishing industry and management arena and help stakeholders discuss their reactions to current transformations and sustainability issues. Léon Zaragoza, a master student from Toulouse University, was also hired by METMUT in the frame of an internship to help craft this role-playing game.
Along with other participants from the fishery sector, environmental NGOs and scientists, Juliette participated in an intermediate version of this ‘serious game’ and gave feedbacks on its conception. This meeting was also a good opportunity to learn more about METMUT and discuss with representatives of the French tuna industry, which provided valuable perspectives in comparison to her work on tuna fisheries in the Western and Central Pacific Ocean.



Test of the ‘serious game’ developed by METMUT

June-July 2020: Short-term internship of Clémence Elmira – a literature review on the sociocultural value of marine species in the South Pacific

During this summer, I had the opportunity to work with Elodie Fache and contribute to SOCPacific through a review of the bibliography available online in the CPS and Google scholar databases. This review focused on the sociocultural value of a number of marine finfish species – especially groupers and trevallies – in Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu. Groupers and trevallies are indeed often cited for their economic and ecological value, but some field data collected in Fiji and New Caledonia suggested that they also have an important sociocultural value. Thus, I aimed to see whether and how this value was depicted in the literature. Given the particular context of the COVID19 pandemic, this 7-week internship was mainly conducted from home, with regular video-meetings with Elodie. Yet, midway through the internship, I was able to spend one week at GRED in Montpellier.
This project internship was an opportunity for me to discover more about marine social science studies and methodologies, as I have a more natural science and technical background. It was also a great opportunity to exchange with several team members about their research and the complexity of marine resource management in the South Pacific. So – thanks to Elodie and Nathalie who made this internship possible, and to all others who collaborated with me during this period!

May 2020: Study on “Trends in South Pacific Fisheries Management” published in Elsevier’s journal Marine Policy by Karcher et al.

We are very happy and proud to see out new study online, featuring ‘Trends in South Pacific Fisheries Management’ and disconnections between strategic planning and binding instruments. Being carried out during Denis Brian Karcher’s internship in Montpellier in the early stages of SOCPacific, the article aims to: a) identify the main policies on which fisheries management is currently based in the South Pacific, particularly in Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu; b) investigate the evolution over time of key issues covered in these policies and related to coastal and/or offshore fisheries sectors; c) trace disconnections on the matter between legally binding instruments and non-binding strategies. For this, Denis gathered and analysed more than 200 documents relevant to regional fisheries management. Here’s the free 50 day sharelink, please make good use of it:,714Mcsq3  ! Thank you Denis – great job! – and everyone who participated and contributed!

Xochitl and Denis 2019
Two of the authors: Denis Brian Karcher and Xochitl E. Elías Ilosvay

May 2020: SOCPacific joins Future Earth Coasts as ‘Affiliated Activity’

We are happy to announce that this month, SOCPacific has become a Future Earth Coasts Affiliated Activity. The Executive Committee of Future Earth Coasts (FEC) has approved to officially affiliate SOCPacific to FEC.
What does this mean? More networking :-)! And discussing – of results, concepts, perspectives, knowledge exchange pathways … !
FEC is a core project of Future Earth, and its goal is “to strengthen the science-policy interface and contribute to securing sustainable coastal futures in the new epoch called the Anthropocene.” FEC aims “to develop a scientific and technological community from all disciplines for the co-design and co-production of knowledge that will engage with policymakers, business, industry and other stakeholders.”
Since 2019, FEC’s International Project Office is hosted by ZMT, with Dr. Sebastian Ferse as Executive Director. SOCPacific’s affiliation will end with the termination of our project activities. We thank FEC for this platform opportunity, and look forward to the next years of critical exchange!

FutureEarth Coasts logo V-Col without tag

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 – 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,

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.

A few field photos

December 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 JKKK wo ID

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.

Ilot Casy, NC_LR

On the field (Ilot Casy) with Nature Wardens from South Province (New Caledonia)

December 2019: Fieldwork focusing on New Caledonia’s sea cucumber fishery

Throughout 2019, Catherine Sabinot, Pierre-Yves Le Meur and Gilbert David investigated New Caledonia’s sea cucumber fishery from several sites: Nouméa, Belep (see the post “May-June 2019: Fieldwork in Belep, New Caledonia”), Koné, Koumac, Hienghène, and Ougea.
Their interviews with fishers, peddlers/sellers, and North Province technicians focused on three main topics:
– The evolution of the sea cucumber fishery and of its management in New-Caledonia over the last 70 years, also paying some attention to mariculture as well as tensions between management efforts and conservation policies (MPAs);
– The organization of the sea cucumber fishery and its articulation with other fisheries sectors, in particular with the trochus fishery;
– Tensions between illegal and legal fishing.

October-November 2019: 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),, 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.

A few field photos

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 ( 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-June 2019: Fieldwork in Belep, New Caledonia

Catherine Sabinot and Pierre-Yves Le Meur conducted joint fieldwork in Belep in May-June 2019. This small island located off the northern coast of New Caledonia is specific as far as fisheries are concerned: controlling its huge lagoon area is challenging, and local fishers face declining yields, especially of sea cucumbers.
In May, a two-day trip to Belep allowed Catherine and Pierre-Yves, accompanied by Séverine Bouard (IAC) and Marlène Berges (fishery agent – North Province), to present the result of a previous survey, commissioned by the North Province, on professional fishers. This was an opportunity for the team to have informal discussions with local fishers and other actors. A customary gesture was also organized with Belep’s customary authority to present SOCPacific and request permission to carry out some fieldwork in June.
During this fieldwork, interviews were conducted with fishers (both men and women) on four main topics:

  • The various uses of the waters around the Surprise Islands: fishing, conservation, but also cultural practices, especially the initiation of young men;
  • The harvesting of sea cucumbers, including a focus on the key role of a local entrepreneur, the decline of this resource, and issues related to its management;
  • The control of the lagoon, in particular of illegal fishing by so-called Vietnamese ‘blue boats’;
  • Sailing for both fishing and transport as a tradition that emerged at the beginning of the 20th century and was abandoned about thirty years ago.

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:

Introduction to Research Project SOCPacific: A Sea of Connections: An interdisciplinary, multi-level and multi-stakeholder study of South Pacific fisheries

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:

  1. In which fisheries management related organizations are Fiji, New Caledonia and Vanuatu (core geographical focus of SOCPacific) involved?
  2. How (dis-)connected are the various fisheries management policies and strategies applied to the South Pacific region, and specifically to these three study areas?
  3. 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 ( 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.

Entrance Malawai Village

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!

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.

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.


Where it all started – January 2018 in Paris at the kick-off meeting for all projects funded under FRAL-2017

Thank you, Tom Vierus (@ for these amazing photographs, which we are proud to use for SOCPacific!

Fishermen in the Solomon Islands