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Sustainability 2013, 5(8), 3346-3367; doi:10.3390/su5083346
Article

The Nourishing Sea: Partnered Guardianship of Fishery and Seabed Mineral Resources for the Economic Viability of Small Pacific Island Nations

Department of Pacific and Asian History, College of Asia and the Pacific, Australian National University, Canberra, ACT 0200, Australia
Received: 14 May 2013 / Revised: 3 July 2013 / Accepted: 12 July 2013 / Published: 6 August 2013
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Sustainable Islands—A Pacific Perspective)
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Abstract

While island biogeography and modern economics portray Pacific island nations as isolated, ecologically fragile, resource poor and barely viable economies forever dependent on foreign aid, Pacific island history and culture conceives of their islands as intimately inter-linked to the surrounding ocean and of that ocean as an avenue to expanded resource bases, both terrestrial and aquatic. Pacific Islanders live in the most aquatic human zone on Earth, with the highest territorial ratios of sea to land. Recent studies are revealing the continuity and success of traditional near-shore guardianship of maritime resources in a number of Pacific islands. Sustainable development of seabed minerals and pelagic fisheries may offer enhanced income potential for small island nations with limited terrestrial resources. As offshore ecosystems are poorly policed, sustainable development is best realized through comprehensive planning centred on partnerships between local communities, their governments, marine scientists and commercial enterprises. The success or failure of Pacific Islanders in reasserting their maritime guardianship is now a matter of global significance given the decimation of most fisheries beyond the Pacific and the vast, but uncertain, medicinal, mineral and food resource potential of this huge area of the planet.
Keywords: Pacific islands; marine resources; seabed minerals; sustainable fisheries; partnerships Pacific islands; marine resources; seabed minerals; sustainable fisheries; partnerships
This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.

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D'Arcy, P. The Nourishing Sea: Partnered Guardianship of Fishery and Seabed Mineral Resources for the Economic Viability of Small Pacific Island Nations. Sustainability 2013, 5, 3346-3367.

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