Coral Gardens of the Dumo People of Papua New Guinea: A Preliminary Account

  • Aung SiEmail author
  • Francesca Lahe-Deklin
Part of the Ethnobiology book series (EBL)


The Dumo live on the northern coast of the West Sepik (or Sandaun) Province in Papua New Guinea, close to the border with Indonesia. They are speakers of a little-known language, and practitioners of a range of traditional fishing and marine food-gathering techniques. The Dumo language and some aspects of seafood harvesting appear to be in decline due to increased contact with the language, food and modern fishing practices from neighbouring countries and other parts of Papua New Guinea. This chapter presents a preliminary description of one practice that is gradually being abandoned, namely the maintenance of fringing reef coral gardens by Dumo women, from which small reef fish and marine invertebrates are harvested for human consumption. A list of Dumo names for these species is presented, along with tentative scientific identifications. Aspects of Dumo cultural and linguistic practices associated with coral gardens, as well as the secondary uses of, and folklore associated with, the organisms found in the gardens are also discussed.


Dumo Vanimo West Sepik Sandaun Coral garden Reef fish Marine invertebrate 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing Switzerland 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of Languages and LinguisticsUniversity of MelbourneParkvilleAustralia
  2. 2.VanimoPapua New Guinea

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