You and Your CourseOpportunities
Research and Teaching
Our ResearchResearch Degrees
Partners and Community
Partner with JCU
- About JCUPartner with JCU
- Advanced Analytical Centre
- Applying to JCU
- Association of Australian University Secretaries
- Australian Quantum & Classical Transport Physics Group
- Careers and Employability
- College of Healthcare Sciences
- College of Medicine and Dentistry
- Division of Tropical Environments and Societies
- International Students
- JCU Eduquarium
- JCU Halls of Residence
- Language and Culture Research Centre
- Marine Geophysics Laboratory
- Open Day
- Parents and Partners
- Pathways to University
- Planning and Performance
- Professional Experience Placement
- Rapid Assessment Unit
- JCU Connect
- Scholarships @ JCU
- Tropical Sustainable Design Case Studies
- VAVS Home
- Media & Comms
- Australian Institute of Tropical Health & Medicine
- About JCU
Featured News A sea change for marine conservation
A sea change for marine conservation
A sea change for marine conservation
Photo: Joshua Cinner
Harnessing ‘people power’ to manage fisheries in the developing world has significantly benefited local communities and coral reefs, according to new research.
“Studies about the environment, and particularly fisheries, abound with bad news, but here, we see a glimmer of hope,” says lead author Professor Joshua Cinner, from the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University.
Historically, fisheries management in East Africa has followed a ‘top down’ approach, but in 2006, the Kenyan government introduced a pilot program that gave communities the ability to develop and enforce their own fisheries rules and regulations.
The researchers studied the impact of the program on both the environment and the livelihood of the fishermen.
In an article published in the journal Global Environmental Change, Professor Cinner says the strategies that local communities developed to manage their fisheries benefited the fishery, the corals and importantly the people’s livelihoods.
“A third of the people we surveyed said that their livelihoods had improved as a result of the new form of local management, and only about three percent of people felt it was bad for them,” Professor Cinner says.
While not every area improved ecologically and not everyone benefited from the program, the researchers saw a big change in people’s attitude toward conservation.
Photo: Joshua Cinner
“Perhaps the biggest surprise was that a whole raft of local communities started developing their own mini-marine reserves,” Professor Cinner says.
The change in attitude toward conservation is significant because earlier attempts by the Kenyan government to develop a marine park in the 1990s resulted in violent protests.
“Sometimes progress comes from convincing people by using real data,” says study co-author, Dr Tim McClanahan from the Wildlife Conservation Society.
“Before we collected the data, opinions could be swayed by political considerations and by fear but that’s much harder now that the research shows there really are few losers in the new system of locally-led management. “Now, we can barely keep up with all of the communities wanting to start up their own marine reserves,” Dr McClanahan says.
“It is a sea change from a decade ago. I’ve been working on the Kenyan coast for over 30 years and even ten years ago, I would never have thought this possible.”
But the researchers warn against complacency.
“It’s easy to think that we can just hand things over to communities and they will manage fisheries on their own, but they need help and support in doing so,” Dr. McClanahan says.
Professor Cinner notes, “In some ways, we are putting the cost and responsibility of enforcing environmental regulations on poor people who can ill afford it. A sustained effort to provide support and capacity building will be critical to the continued success.”
A sea change on the African coast: Preliminary social and ecological outcomes of a governance transformation in Kenyan fisheries by Josh Cinner and Tim McClanahan is published in the journal, Global Environmental Change.
Kenyan fishers – image credit: Joshua Cinner
Fish trader – image credit: Joshua Cinner
Professor Joshua Cinner, Coral CoE, +61 (0) 417 714 138
Dr Tim McClanahan, Wildlife Conservation Society, email@example.com
Eleanor Gregory, Communications Coral CoE, +61 (0) 428 785 895, firstname.lastname@example.org
- James Cook University
- Bachelor of Advanced Science
- Bachelor of Arts
- Bachelor of Biomedical Sciences
- Bachelor of Business
- Bachelor of Business / Laws
- Bachelor of Business & Environmental Science
- Bachelor of Dental Surgery
- Bachelor of Early Childhood Education
- Bachelor of Primary Education
- Bachelor of Secondary Education
- Bachelor of Environmental Practice
- Bachelor of Geology
- Bachelor of Information Technology
- Bachelor of Laws
- Bachelor of Nursing Science (External)
- Bachelor of Midwifery
- Bachelor of Pharmacy
- Bachelor of Physiotherapy
- Bachelor of Planning
- Bachelor of Psychological Science
- Bachelor of Science
- Bachelor of Social Work
- Bachelor of Speech Pathology
- Bachelor of Sport & Exercise Science
- Bachelor of Veterinary Science
- Bachelor of Clinical Sciences (Honours)
- Bachelor of Engineering (Honours)
- Bachelor of Engineering / Science (Honours) MBA in Tourism
- Master of Public Health and Tropical Medicine
- Master of Data Science
- Bachelor of Sports Psychology
- Bachelor of Marine Science
- Bachelor of Medicine / Surgery
- Bachelor of Nursing Science [Pre-Registration]
- Bachelor of Medical Laboratory Science (Honours)
- Bachelor of Occupational Therapy (Honours)
- Bachelor of Psychology
- Master of Conflict Management & Resolution
- Graduate Certificate of Conflict Management & Resolution
- Master of Global Development
- Master of International Tourism & Hospitality Management
- Bachelor of Technology and Innovation
- Bachelor of Science & Bachelor of Laws
- Diploma of Higher Education
- Diploma of Higher Education (Business)
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Business Studies
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Engineering and Applied Science
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in General Studies
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Health
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Information Technology
- Diploma of Higher Education Majoring in Science
- Diploma of Higher Education, Majoring in Society and Culture