Outer Island communities are concerned at the loss of traditional resource management practices on their islands that have come with increasing outside influence. Traditional practices on these islands include seasonal and rotating reef closures, size, species and gear restrictions, complex sharing and distribution arrangements, and monitoring and enforcement mechanisms that together create a complete management framework.
With support from National Geographic, we are documenting these practices, which often take the form of taboos and rituals, and drawing connections with scientific management methods. Understanding that these “MPAs” (Marine Protected Areas) are a traditional method, we have found communities embracing them as one of several strategies to enhance the reefs and associated resources. Our 2017 and 2018 Outer Island Science Expeditions allowed us to document practices that have been lost on Ulithi Atoll but are still in use or memory on more remote islands.