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Customary marine tenure and the empowerment of resource owners in Fiji

Veitayaki, Joeli (2001) Customary marine tenure and the empowerment of resource owners in Fiji. [Conference Proceedings]

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One of the last decisions of the Rabuka Government was to return the ownership of customary marine tenure (CMT) areas to indigenous Fijian resource owners. This decision, if legalised, would rectify one of the points of contention regarding the transition in resource ownership rights in Fiji after Cession to Britain in 1874: i) The decision would return the ownership of CMT areas to indigenous Fijians who under previous constitutions had only the right to fish as opposed to ownership rights; ii) The decision would formalise the empowerment of resource owners under the integration of the traditional system of resource management and more contemporary arrangements; iii) The decision would also highlight the important role that resource owners can play in the management and use of marine resources within their realm. The CMT system in Fiji offers useful lessons to the world on the empowerment of resource owners. The Government has recorded, demarcated and registered customary fishing grounds. The people, through their chiefs, decide on the use of their fishing areas. In recent times, owners of CMT areas have banned commercial fishing and the use of certain fishing gear. In other places, the resource owners have taken up resource management exercises such as monitoring, the replanting of mangroves and declaration of marine conservation and protected areas. These are good signs but a lot is still needed to be done to ensure that the full potential of the measures to empower the resource owners, that are being pioneered in Fiji, are fully realised.

Item Type: Conference Proceedings
Subjects: G Geography. Anthropology. Recreation > GC Oceanography
S Agriculture > SH Aquaculture. Fisheries. Angling
Divisions: Faculty of Science, Technology and Environment (FSTE) > School of Marine Studies
Depositing User: Ms Mereoni Camailakeba
Date Deposited: 20 Nov 2001 22:10
Last Modified: 30 Jun 2012 07:24

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