Customary management as TURFs: social challenges and opportunities
There is a growing interest in working with customary management (CM) systems to effectively manage benthic resources and small-scale fisheries. The underlying notion is that CM institution as territorial use rights in fisheries (TURFs) can be sufficiently adaptive and dynamic to create the local incentives that are necessary for promoting sustainable fishing practices and marine conservation more generally in a given region. This paper reviews the social opportunities and challenges of working with CM systems as a form of TURF, particularly in Oceania. A key conclusion is that policy makers and managers not only need to recognize natural interconnectivity in any one marine space, but also consider the social interconnectivity of stakeholders that covers customary TURFs. Only by recognizing and working with the existing social networks that overlay any given marine territory can the operational principles of CM (as reviewed in this paper) be effectively deployed for achieving some kind of bioeconomic efficiency and creating an equitable rights-based fisheries management system.