ABSTRACT: The coral reefs in New Caledonia have long been used by the local population for subsistence as well as commercial and recreational purposes. The impact of informal fisheries on reef ecosystems illustrated the idiosyncrasies of New Caledonian fisheries in the southwest Pacific. This paper compared informal fishery systems on the southwest coast (close to the capital and economic center of the country) and the northwest coast (where an industrial mining complex has been under development) of New Caledonia to analyze their spatial structure and characteristics. Four geosystems were defined. These depended on the natural, social and economical environments as well as management strategies. The way of life of the fishers proved to be a major factor in how the informal fishery systems were structured. Our observations suggested that ongoing socio-economic changes in New Caledonia have shaped informal fishing activities since the 1900s. The findings from this study validate the suitability of spatial approaches to coral reef fisheries and provide local stakeholders with original management clues for marine resources sustainability.
Marine pollution bulletin 01/2010; 61(7-12):585-97. · 2.63 Impact Factor