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The socio-cultural impacts of community based tabu sites on men and women: A case study of Cuvu district, Nadroga, Fiji

This research analyses the impacts of community based Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) or tabu on men and women of Cuvu district in the province of Nadroga, Fiji. The practice of tabu is not an uncommon phenomenon in the South Pacific. Many evaluations have been conducted of such initiatives. However, there appears to be a lack of comparative analysis detailing how gender specific impacts are caused by these resource management regimes. Central to the methodology of this research was the interview of 17 villagers. They were three fishermen, five fisherwomen and nine traditional leaders. By fisher roles, respondents were either classified as artisanal or subsistence fishers. The reactions and responses by respondents and other villagers revealed realities and perceptions that were as diverse as the socially stratified marine resource using communities of Cuvu district. Gender specific impacts were affirmed. Women fished in inshore areas using simple methods and were disadvantaged unlike men who dived and therefore fished along the outer edges of the reef. Geo-spatial impacts were also identified. Artisinal fishers who had wider personalised fishing zones were more receptive to the existing tabu. Different ranks of leadership, furthermore, determined the support, or the lack of it, that chiefs placed on the existing tabu. On the one hand, traditional leaders upheld the high chief's decision and spoke of the benefits for them and their future generations. On the other, few of these leaders offered diplomacy when explaining the challenges faced by their people. Commonalities were not entirely absent. All respondents and villagers in general, regardless of gender and social standing, felt that the involvement of the Turaga Na Kalevu (high chief) brought sanctity and spiritual blessings upon the tabu. The findings of this research reflect the need to better understand and appreciate the heterogeneous make up of communities when introducing resource management regimes such as tabu. To be effective, they must be inclusive of villagers'diversity and their dependence on the marine environment. A TOP model tabu is proposed as it is accommodative of the diverse interests and values that men and women have on the marine environment. It will ensure conservation and simultaneously enable the coastal communities of Cuvu district to meet their daily protein needs as well as preserve their heterogeneity.
Type of thesis
Robinson, F. B. (2008). The socio-cultural impacts of community based tabu sites on men and women: A case study of Cuvu district, Nadroga, Fiji (Thesis, Master of Social Sciences (MSocSc)). The University of Waikato, Hamilton, New Zealand. Retrieved from https://hdl.handle.net/10289/4806
The University of Waikato
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