Overfishing is real. And the search for appropriate solutions began many decades ago and the marine managed or protected areas being one such solution.
In his presentation at the 12th International Coral Reef Symposium in Cairns, Australia yesterday, Fiji Locally Managed-Marine Area Network (LMMA) technical advisor Alifereti Tawake said centralised, government managed large marine systems undoubtedly worked to protect biodiversity, and increase fish and economic yields and benefits. However, he said the approach, size and scale would not work everywhere.
"Some key reasons are that developing countries do not have the budget and scientific expertise at their disposal," Mr Tawake told a media briefing at the Cairns Convention Centre.
He said there was also the high dependence on marine resources.
"Many island communities' livelihoods and survival depend on the sea resources so locking up large marine areas will do more harm than good at least in the immediate term.
"Communities in many countries also have local ownership and governance of sea resources," he added.
Mr Tawake said community-based management was the most appropriate approach or alternative if not the only one for many developing countries and territories.
And this, he said had been used for many decades and would increasingly be used and revived to address future challenges.
"At the heart of the community-based management is the principle that those people affected by decisions should participate directly in the decision making process.
"Community-based management means that all community members, including women, elders, youths and hunters have the opportunity to decide how the plans are made and how they will be carried out.
"Empowering the community and honestly, engaging community at every stage of the community-based management process will go a long way in sustaining marine managed and protected areas into the future," he added.