Marine conservation in Oceania: Past, present, and future
The people of Oceania have long relied on the ocean for sustenance, commerce, and cultural identity, which promulgated a sophisticated understanding of the marine environment and its conservation. Global declines in ocean health now require innovative solutions that can benefit from customary knowledge and practices, which in the past led to sustainable marine resource use. The resurgence of local stewardship, which incorporates customary practices and governance, has shown promise in many locations throughout the Pacific, although a complete return to past practices is not fully implementable owing to the loss of traditional knowledge, centralized governmental structures, economic development, and globalization. Hybrid systems that incorporate elements of customary and contemporary management can overcome some of these limitations to implementation of successful local management, and lead to greater food security, social cohesion, and the creation of an adaptive system that can potentially mitigate the effects of climate change and other stressors.