Fiji residents have traditionally managed their waterfront resources. Adding to that support now are foreign conservation approaches, science, and national government regulations. To get residents on board with the idea of marine protection, village and district chiefs must give their blessing, though their cooperation depends on cultural sensitivity by the NGOs. Fijian chiefs must also consider ocean-based livelihoods when few moneymaking options exist in remote areas. Moreover is the need for government oversight –enough to authenticate the conservation efforts, but not so much to cede cultural rights. This delicate interlocking of conservation, customs, enforcement, and economic goals is not easy to navigate, and not always successful. Amy is diving in to expose what pressures Fiji’s nearshore fisheries now face–politically, culturally, and physically.
Amy West is a freelance science writer and former marine biologist- with both careers taking her from pole to pole. After an aquaculture stint in Peace Corps and an MSc in marine science from New Zealand, she toiled aboard US commercial fishing boats in the Bering Sea, wanting to enhance her understanding of global fishing practices. Her training in multimedia and writing from a graduate degree in science communication from UC Santa Cruz, helped her produce science and technology pieces for public radio, write and photograph for a deep-sea research institute and Japanese university, and generate videos for the National Park Service and Wildlife Conservation Society in Fiji. She has written for Conservation Magazine, ScienceNOW, High Country News, and Mongabay.com, with articles appearing in Huffington Post and San Jose Mercury News. She is based in San Luis Obispo, CA. More of her work can be found at amyewest.com.