Assessing Marine Resource Exploitation in Lofanga, Tonga: One Case Study—Two Approaches
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This paper is an attempt to combine the results and conclusions of two independently designed research projects, in order to achieve a more complete understanding of the degree of exploitation of living marine resources by a small Tongan coastal fishing community. Results of a socioeconomic resource-driven survey and an anthropological study adopting a commons dilemma approach, agree substantially on the impact of tradition and changes, but disagree with regard to the driving forces. The socioeconomic study argues that dynamics between traditional and modern economic values best explain the state of the community’s coastal fisheries; while the anthropological study argues that social values and obligations still determine to a great extent the goals people pursue with their economic activities. Current fishing pressure, the marine tenure system, and present and future marketing potentials are all factors which may result in conflict between the traditional Tongan system and the modern cash-based, remittance sustained system. These will ultimately affect the current and future status of coastal resources and the social cohesion of the community.