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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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  Citation statistics : Table of Contents
   2010| January-March  | Volume 8 | Issue 1  
    Online since April 22, 2010

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Incentive-based approaches in marine conservation: Applications for sea turtles
Heidi Gjertsen, Eduard Niesten
January-March 2010, 8(1):5-14
Conservation practitioners are increasingly turning to incentive-based approaches to encourage local resource users to change behaviors that impact biodiversity and natural habitat. We assess the design and performance of marine conservation interventions with varying types of incentives through an analysis of case studies from around the world. Here we focus on seven examples that are particularly relevant to designing incentives for sea turtle conservation. Four of the cases are focused on sea turtle conservation, and the others contain elements that may be applied to turtle projects. Many more opportunities exist for interventions that combine the strengths of these approaches, such as performance-based agreements that provide funds for education or alternative livelihood development, and leasing fishing rights to reduce bycatch.
  10 9,013 1,609
Profile and influence of the successful fisher-Inventor of marine conservation technology
Lekelia D Jenkins
January-March 2010, 8(1):44-54
Anecdotally it is often said that fishers are the best inventors of marine conservation technologies. In this paper I describe case studies of Turtle Excluder Devices (TEDs) and dolphin conservation technology, offering empirical evidence that fishers are successful inventors of marine conservation technology. I describe the Local Inventor Effect, in which adoption of a technology is disproportionately high in the geographic area near the inventor's home. In one case, the adoption of a local invention was 600% higher than that of the next most popular device. Further, I present the Successful Inventor Profile for inventors of marine conservation technologies. This profile consists of three characteristics (1) a successful conservation technology inventor will have extensive experience relevant to the problem and potential solutions, (2) he or she will have extensive experience in fabrication, and (3) he or she will have the ability and tendency to employ mental and/or physical models, to assemble and refine inventions.
  7 7,376 694
Forbidden sea turtles: Traditional laws pertaining to sea turtle consumption in Polynesia (Including the Polynesian Outliers)
Regina Woodrom Rudrud
January-March 2010, 8(1):84-97
Throughout the Pacific regions of Micronesia, Melanesia and Polynesia, sea turtles are recognised as culturally significant species. The specifics of human-sea turtle interactions in these regions, however, are not well known, in part because ethnographic and historic reports documenting these interactions are scattered, requiring extensive archival research. Ethnographic and environmental data collected over a ten-year period are analysed to assess patterns of human-sea turtle interactions prior to (and sometimes beyond) Western contact. From the ethnographic data for Polynesia, a region-wide pattern emerges where sea turtle consumption was restricted to special ceremonies when the elites such as chiefs and priests but no one else ate turtle. Only in two countries did this pattern differ. Environmental data does little to elucidate explanations for this region-wide treatment of sea turtles as restricted food sources, as there is no correlation between environmental variability and the presence or absence of these restrictions. Instead the results of this research suggest such practices may have been part of an ancestral Polynesian society, developing well before human settlement into this region of the Pacific.
  6 11,451 1,141
Ecotourism and sea turtle harvesting in a fishing village of Bahia, Brazil
Fernanda de Vasconcellos Pegas, Amanda Stronza
January-March 2010, 8(1):15-25
Many environmentalists believe ecotourism has the potential to generate net benefits for people and nature. For more than two decades, the Brazilian Sea Turtle Conservation Program (TAMAR) has provided jobs and income through ecotourism in Praia do Forte, Brazil, in exchange for reduced harvesting of sea turtles. In this article we evaluate the relationships between ecotourism at TAMAR and local support for sea turtle conservation. Nine months of ethnographic research (2006-2008) suggest that ecotourism-related employment and income have been somewhat stable and reliable. The average income of respondents who worked with TAMAR was lower than that reported by people not working with TAMAR. Workers noted other non-economic benefits. Though the majority supported sea turtle conservation, it is unclear how feelings will waver with new mass tourism developments in the region. As the cost of living increases, residents may increasingly be inclined to look for work outside TAMAR. Development also attracts new immigrants, making it difficult for locals to control sea turtle harvesting. These trends challenge the notion that economic incentives for locals alone will ensure conservation. Further research is needed to understand the conditions under which ecotourism may foster long-term conservation in the face of larger developments surrounding community ecotourism projects.
  5 10,964 1,716
Studying Sea Turtle Conservation and Learning about the World: Insights from Social Science
Lisa M Campbell
January-March 2010, 8(1):1-4
  4 6,587 1,496
Options for managing the sustainable use of green turtles: Perceptions of Hammond Islanders in Torres Strait
Jillian Grayson, Mark Hamann, Helene Marsh, Stephen Ambar
January-March 2010, 8(1):73-83
One of the largest populations of green turtles (Chelonia mydas) in the world spends at least part of its life cycle in the remote Torres Strait between Australia and Papua New Guinea. This population is subjected to traditional harvests from geographically dispersed communities including along the northern and eastern coasts of Australia, Indonesia and south-western Pacific nations. In Torres Strait, green turtle hunting is classed as a traditional fishery and is guaranteed by Australian legislation (Native Title Act 1993) and the Torres Strait Treaty between Australia and Papua New Guinea that aims to protect the traditional lifestyle of the region's indigenous peoples. To investigate the Islanders' thoughts and aspirations regarding marine turtle management, we interviewed hunters and Islander Elders from the Hammond Island community in the Kaurareg nation of Kaiwalagal. Although not the Traditional Owners of the Kaiwalagal sea country in which they live and hunt, Hammond Islanders wish to be involved in the management of resources on which they depend, including marine turtles. They considered community-based processes to be important, especially the application of (1) cultural norms to the development of tools to achieve compliance and enforcement within the community, and (2) consensus-based decision-making amongst hunters and elders within the community, with regard to the use of more formal rules. However, the need for co-operation with other communities and stakeholders across scales was also recognised, particularly with regard to enforcement. Our results suggest that co-management is likely to be a more appropriate approach for managing green turtles in Torres Strait than either community-based management or government-driven management.
  3 4,999 772
Tourists and turtles: Searching for a balance in Tortuguero, Costa Rica
Zoe A Meletis, Emma C Harrison
January-March 2010, 8(1):26-43
Tourism is seen as an important part of the turtle conservation 'toolbox' that can be used to (1) raise awareness about sea turtles, (2) provide funding for conservation and management, and (3) create 'alternative livelihoods' and revenues for communities who engage(d) in direct consumption or sale of sea turtle products. With some exceptions, however, few studies of sea turtle tourism dedicate adequate attention to the wants, needs, and perceptions of tourists (exceptions include Wilson & Tisdell 2001; Smith 2002; Gray 2003; Meletis 2007; Ballantyne et al. 2009). In this paper, we focus on tourist perceptions of turtle tours in Tortuguero, Costa Rica, home to Tortuguero National Park (TNP; est. 1975) and among the oldest turtle tour systems in the world. In 2004, the tour system was changed to mitigate potential negative impacts of tourist activity on nesting turtles. Whereas tourists and their guides once walked the beach 'looking' for nesting turtles, they now wait behind the beach and are radioed by TNP-affiliated 'turtle spotters' when turtles are 'ready' to be viewed. Impact mitigation was the primary motivation for this alteration to the tour system; resulting changes in the nature of the tour were not central considerations. Are the tourists enjoying the new tour format? Do they like/dislike the more passive waiting? Do the tourists know about, and understand the new tour system? In this paper, we address questions such as these, using a sample of 147 tourist surveys collected in 2008. We designed our survey to (1) add to the existing data on tourism in Tortuguero, (2) collect data on tourist perceptions of the (new) tour system, and (3) gauge tourist awareness of the Turtle Spotter Program (TSP) and the reasons for the new turtle tour system. The main purpose of this study was to collect data requested by interested stakeholders, and to consider the results with respect to implications for the future of turtle tour management in the area.
  2 9,198 1,246
Changing taste preferences, market demands and traditions in Pearl Lagoon, Nicaragua: A community reliant on green turtles for income and nutrition
Kathryn A Garland, Raymond R Carthy
January-March 2010, 8(1):55-72
Caribbean Nicaragua has its own cultural logic that helps to explain the eating habits of indigenous communities that rely on sea turtle meat for nutrition and prefer its taste to that of other available meats. Nutritional costs and benefits form a fundamental part of this reliance, yet there are ecological, economic, cultural, and other factors that may be just as if not more important than the nutritional value of turtle meat. Caribbean Nicaraguans have legally harvested green turtles (Chelonia mydas) for more than 400 years, and continue to rely on the species as an inexpensive and tasty source of protein and income. From 1967 to 1977, green turtles were harvested for both local and foreign consumption, including annual exports to the US and Europe from turtle packing plants in Nicaragua in excess of 10,000 turtles. Although the processing plants have been closed for over 30 years after Nicaragua became a signatory of CITES in 1977, the local demand for turtle meat in coastal communities has continued. Following themes of cultural ecology and ecological anthropology, we first discuss what is known about the traditional culture of Caribbean Nicaragua, in particular the history of its changing economy (after European contact and settlement on the coast) and subsistence lifestyle of Miskito and Creole societies on the coast. Second, we provide background information on regional ethnic identity and the human ecology of the Caribbean Nicaragua sea turtle fishery. We then present a quantitative analysis of the relationship between protein preference and various demographic characteristics, and speculate whether protein preferences have been altered in the coastal culture, providing recommendations for future research. Recent studies present disparate views on whether nesting and foraging green turtle populations are increasing or decreasing in the region: in either case the level of harvest makes the topic of protein preference an important and relevant consideration in conservation.
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January-March 2010, 8(1):97-97
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