Friday, May 28, 2010

LEK and TEK - now online!

Brilliant pic by Lupo!

From the paper.


Local ecological knowledge (LEK) and traditional ecological knowledge (TEK) have the potential to improve community-based coastal resource management (CBCRM) by providing information about the presence, behaviour and ecology of species.
This paper explores the potential of LEK and TEK to identify shark river habitats in Fiji, learn how locals regard and use sharks, and capture ancestral legends and myths that shed light on relationships between these animals and local people.

Interviews with representatives from 22 villages, communities and fishing settlements associated with seven riverine areas on Viti Levu and Vanua Levu confirmed the presence of sharks in estuaries and rivers on Fiji.
Hammerhead sharks (Sphyrna spp.) and larger sharks were reported being close to the rivermouths, whereas an unknown species of small size with a rounded snout was reported up to >30 km upriver.

Local people consume shark meat as a source of protein, but sharks also have a rich background in ancestral stories and play an important part in Fijian myths and legends, resulting in the support of conservation measures by local villagers.

To our knowledge, our data currently constitute the largest data set of its kind for Fiji and provide the foundation for future investigations into Fijian shark river habitats.
These results encourage consideration of ecological knowledge as an important source of information in data-poor areas. They can advance community-based coastal resource management by making a valuable contribution to the body of knowledge concerning critical habitats and their fauna, and offer insight into how conservation measures can best be implemented, taking into account local people’s needs, traditional values and beliefs.

Keywords: ancestral myths, bull shark, Carcharhinus leucas, community-based coastal resource management, local ecological knowledge, nursery ground, shark god, Shark Reef Marine Reserve, traditional ecological knowledge.
Building on Victor's initial term paper, this is both Victor's and Eroni's first proper scientific publication, and Juerg must be commended for having generously relegated himself to third rank, and for having patiently (!!!) coached them through the extremely tedious editing and peer reviewing process.

In the meantime, progress has been extensive.
Since we first blogged about it last year, our rivers work has been the subject of a brilliant local TV show and developed into a fully fledged own project whereby we continue to catch and analyze the juveniles and will shortly start new research aimed at documenting their life cycle in the rivers and eventually, if we're incredibly lucky, even at tracking their way out into the Ocean.
Wouldn't it be just so cool if one of them ended up coming to Shark Reef!

As always, keep watching this space!


The Sharkman said...

Congrats to all.

Glad to read that the paper is finally out.

Any chance of getting a copy please?


DaShark said...

Already in the mail! :)