Kastom and conservation
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In Vanuatu, the Melanesian archipelago formally known as New Hebrides, traditional marine tenure has become a center piece of marine conservation efforts. However, its influence is relatively slight in the area of the Nguna-Pele Marine Protected Area Network (NPMPA), a village-based conservation organization. The NPMPA has therefore adopted a westernized conservation model of Marine Protected Areas, or MPAs. As it pursues its conservation goals, the NPMPA must continually negotiate between the expectations, tools, and methodologies, of two powerful normative discourses: traditional knowledge and national indigenous identity, and marine biology and conservation ecology. This case study uses discourse analysis to investigate the interactions of western conservation discourse and traditional forms of knowledge surrounding the management of marine resources. Findings suggest that the adaptation of western conservation practice has resulted in conservation discourse that situates agency in documents and conservation tools more often than in human action.