Market-based instruments, such as ecolabelling, can incentivise sustainable fisheries management through improved market access and price premiums. However, such instruments are rarely used in small-scale fisheries in developing nations, where they are arguably needed the most. I this talk I will discuss how market-based instruments (ecolabeling and supply chain simplification) in conjunction with conventional management measures (e.g. size limits and Marine Protected Areas [MPAs]) were applied to a small-scale sea cucumber fishery in southern Manus, Papua New Guinea. Tribal fishery management occurred through a customary rights-based framework. In 2017 fishers who sold through their tribal cooperative had economic returns that were 240% greater than business-as-usual. Community-based management delivered mixed results – sea cucumber densities declined in two out of three monitored MPAs, but remained significantly higher than adjacent open areas. These results demonstrate that market-based instruments can be applied to small-scale sea cucumber fisheries for simultaneous economic and ecological gains.
Peter (Pete) Waldie completed his PhD at the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, where he investigated the suitability of community-based management in conserving large, threatened, fishery-targeted coral reef fishes. Pete’s PhD research was conducted in New Ireland Province in Papua New Guinea, where he spent many months living in remote communities to gain a rich understanding of the benefits and pitfalls of customary, community-based governance. Since completing his PhD, Pete has worked as a Fisheries Scientist for The Nature Conservancy, supporting community partners in Melanesia and Micronesia to effectively manage their fisheries. One such partnership in Papua New Guinea has culminated in the creation of a marine protected area network across a 2.4-million-hectare seascape and provided local resource owners with access to premium sustainable seafood markets in Hong Kong, directly incentivising sustainable resource management.