Thriving local food systems are the cornerstone of food security, culture, and heritage of Indigenous communities. In small island states across the Pacific, these systems are heavily dependent on aquatic foods. In the Solomon Islands, fish accounts for 57 per cent of animal-source protein consumption, providing vital nutrients as well as livelihoods for the islands’ fishers.
Equipping and empowering fishers, processors, and all actors in the value chain to carefully manage the islands’ natural resources is, therefore, critical to ensure the sustainability and climate resilience of fisheries.
Community-based collaboration for sustainable resource management
Since 2011, WorldFish has been collaborating with the Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources (MFMR) and the government of Malaita—the province with the largest population and the third highest rate of poverty—to inculcate Community-Based Resource Management (CBRM) through research, training, and outreach. Having honed this model over the years, WorldFish helped MFMR to launch a nationwide CBRM scaling strategy in 2022, extending technical support to communities throughout the archipelago.
WorldFish has provided customised technical support on CBRM to 76 communities in Malaita since 2021. This included developing 16 information sets on key issues such as mangrove restoration and coral replanting. These contribute to healthy ecosystems and support resilient aquatic food systems. These were then disseminated to communities, schools and health clinics, empowering women and young people to have a greater role in CBRM decision-making.
Boosting capacities and informing policy
To build institutional capacity, trainings were held for community facilitators, which led to the co-development of 12 management plans. These plans set out agreed rules for the management of coastal fisheries to support the sustainability of both the local economy and the environment.
The new CBRM scaling strategy provides guidelines for all non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and non-profits in the region. It also directly supports the goals of the Solomon Islands National Fisheries Policy 2019–2029.
The initiative to scale out CBRM nationally vouches for the enhanced institutional and human resource capacity of the Solomon Islands over the coming years.
The success of the community-based model demonstrates the integration of interventions with the national strategy and inclusive partnerships as key to institutionalising good governance and empowering Indigenous communities for the sustainable use of marine resources to secure their food, nutrition, and livelihoods.
Funded by: Australia Centre for International Agricultural Research
Partners: Ministry of Fisheries and Marine Resources and Malaita Provincial Government, Solomon Islands
This case study is a part of the Stories of Change series of WorldFish’s Annual Report 2022.
Header image: WorldFish