Note from the editor
It is my profoundly sad duty to inform those who have not yet heard that Robert E. Johannes has passed away. Bob died on 4 September 2002, after a long and valiant struggle. All of us miss him deeply, but none more than his wife Christa and son Greg. We send them our deepest sympathy.
Many things are being planned in Bob’s memory. One is that the next issue of this information bulletin will be devoted to him. Many contributions have been already promised, and we invite all readers who wish to contribute something about Bob to e-mail their contribution to me at
. Please send it as soon as possible, as we’d like to have the next issue ready by the end of the year.
Bob Johannes contributed greatly to the establishment of this Information Bulletin, and he was a frequent contributor. So it is fitting that he is an author of two of the three articles in this issue.
In the first, 'Did indigenous conservation ethics exist?', Bob re-addresses one of his strongly held beliefs, that establishing whether a conservation ethic exists in an indigenous culture is a vital first step in determining how to help its people live within their natural resource limits. Some societies understood that their marine resources were limited and introduced appropriate marine conservation measures, whereas others had no need to because their abundant marine resource base always exceeded harvesting pressure. 'A worldwide survey of relevant literature would show', Bob suggests, 'that societies that developed conscious conservation practices were usually small and relied on natural resources that were circumscribed and thus easily depleted.' Would somebody kindly undertake this topic as a doctoral dissertation?
The second contribution is 'Evolution of village-based marine resource management in Vanuatu', by Francis R. Hickey and Robert E. Johannes. This article is condensed from their report to Environment and Development in Coastal Regions and Small Islands platform, UNESCO.
In l993 a study of coastal villages in Vanuatu revealed that within the previous three years there had been a rapid increase in marine resource management activities. The initial impetus for this was the Vanuatu Fisheries Department’s promotion of a voluntary village-based trochus management programme. Initially the programme involved only a few fishing villages out of a total of several hundred. The l993 study revealed that villages that followed the Fisheries Department’s advice found it so profitable that other villages quickly followed suit. Many villages decided to implement their own conservation measures to protect other marine animals. In 2001, the authors resurveyed 21 of the villages surveyed in 1993, to determine how successful these community-initiated management measures had been in the eyes of the villagers. The results revealed that village-based marine resource management measures had more than doubled between 1993 and 2001. There was a total of 40 MRM measures in the 21 villages in 1993. By 2001 five of these had lapsed but 51 new ones had been implemented.
The third article is by Armagan Sabetian, and entitled 'The importance of ethnographic knowledge to fishery research design and management in the South Pacific: A case study from Kolombangara Island, Solomon Islands'. Armagan Sabetian recorded the structure of a traditional Solomon Island village fishing system to demonstrate the value of ethnographic knowledge in fishery research design and management. The purpose of conducting a baseline ethnographic study within an indigenous Melanesian village was first to record traditional fishing knowledge and behaviour through systematic interviewing, and second to record fishing activity through a CPUE survey.
Please keep you contributions coming. We need your news and announcements too.