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Crab Bay Community Conserved Area, Vanuatu, South West Pacific

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  1. Crab Bay Community Conserved Area, Vanuatu, South West Pacific Graham James, Chairman of the Local Committee

  2. Crab Bay area covers 11 communities, with a population of about 5,000 people • The people always had a “taboo” area where they did not allow fishing in the Bay • In 2003 a GEF project started implementation (through SPREP) to support communities to better manage their fishery resources under pressure because of “development initiatives”… • This included participatory analyses and planning in cooperation with the Fisheries and Environment Departments

  3. The project strengthened the traditional institutions and management system • For instance it provided resources for running workshops that involved the traditional chiefs • This managed to help the chiefs resolve the conflicts that existed among the communities about some local land dispute claims and enhance cooperation in managing the taboo area • People appreciate the taboo area because for centuries they have respected it and it has an important positive effect on the natural resources

  4. What is our Community Conserved Area about? • The government recognised the recognise customary marine tenure system. • The Chiefs placed a taboo on Crab Bay, which effectively becomes a ‘no go zone’. • We developed a management plan about the resources that spill over from the taboo area developed by the 11 communities • The plan includes management rules, and the chiefs ensure that community members respect and abide by the rules. • Chiefs have their own community guards who regularly patrol the Crab Bay Community Conserved Area

  5. There is a “Management Committee” composed of the ones who facilitated the process of the project, but this Committee takes decisions only together with the Traditional Chiefs. • Intruders have been caught and had to pay fines to the Committee. • The role of the Committee is to provide on-going support, raise awareness and re-enforce communities regarding the resource management of Crab Bay, while emphasising the equitable benefit sharing that is inherent in it. • The Committee helps the 11 communities to take decisions together!

  6. In 2003 we approached the government for help and they “recognised” our CCA, and the fact that we govern it alone... • They sent us someone to become a member of our Committee • We prepare our management plans and we send them to the government responsible authorities for their information, official recognition and to provide us with requested support • The government helps us to enforce our own by-laws!

  7. There are problems to be resolved: • we would like to promote tourism, we need to understand better the level of sustainable resource use… • we also need to register the Crab Bay Community Conserved Area so that it is also nationally recognised by the Vanuatu Government • Importantly, we are a living demonstration of the fact that protected areas work best when declared and run by the people… We have much better results than any PA declared by the government