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Publication Type
Conference Proceedings
UWI Author(s)
Author, Analytic
Quinn, Norman J.
Author Role
Presenter
Author Affiliation
Centre for Marine Sciences
Paper/Section Title
Documenting Melanesian traditional aquatic knowledge and fishing practices [Abstract]
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Proceedings Title
Tenth International Coral Reef Symposium
Date of Meeting
June 27 - July 2, 2004
Place of Meeting
Okinawa, Japan
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Abstract
Together with Melanesia nationals, the author assembled a 124-page illustrated collection of essays titled Aquatic Knowledge and Fishing Practices in Melanesia. The book is based on manuscripts written by Papua New Guinea (PNG) University of Technology, Law; University of PNG, Port Moresby; and University of the South Pacific, Fiji, students. Much of what is known about the natural resources of developed countries can be found in libraries and on the internet. However, in Melanesia, most of this knowledge exists only in the minds of experienced and skilled men and women. Researchers have realized that traditional information is vast and more comprehensive in many respects to that documented by formal science. Young formally educated students are among those citizens who know least about such things. Their learning year is spent far from their ancestral village and they are seldom taught to understand and respect these knowledge systems and customs. Paradoxically, these are the citizens who will be given the duties and responsibilities to determine the future conservation and development strategies for the country. It is unlikely that their socio-economic and technological sophistication can be fully applied without the fundamental and knowledge that their culture possesses of the surrounding natural resources. Melanesia educational institute have a responsibility to help retain such knowledge and transmit it to future generations. However, without printed material for the teachers and students to use, it is excluded from the curricula. The exclusion amounts, unintentionally, to a tacit assertion that it is no longer worth learning. Aquatic, knowledge and Fishing Practices in Melanesia is making an important contribution to fill this void as the book will be used by the PNG Education Department in secondary schools and in universities throughout Melanesia.....
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