Sea Cucumber Moratorium and Livelihood Diversity in Papua New Guinea

Derek H. Purdy*, David J. Hadley, Jasper O. Kenter, Jeff Kinch

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

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Livelihood diversity factors such as flexibility within fisheries, geographical mobility, reallocation of fishing effort into the broader economy, and the non-material benefits that fisheries provide are important areas of research in marine policy. We use two small-scale fisheries related socio-economic surveys of communities in the Tigak Islands of Papua New Guinea. The first conducted 5 years before a ban on the harvesting of sea cucumbers was imposed and the second from the present day, 5 years after the initiation of the ban—with the objectives of exploring changes in household fishing strategies (types and numbers of species targeted) and to identify any important socioeconomic factors that help explain those changes. Fishing's contribution to total household income has increased significantly (p = 0.019) up from 61% in 2004 to 73% in 2014 with the percentage of female residents living in a household now positively and significantly (p = 0.018) associated with fishing income. The average number of species categories targeted per household increased insignificantly while households with more women are significantly (p = 0.018) less likely to target more species than households with more men. Moreover, customary management practices contribute to this difference. Together, these results show that households are not worse off financially 5 years after the ban on sea cucumber harvesting and that gendered seascape use has implications for the role of livelihood diversity as a marine policy tool.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)161-177
Number of pages17
JournalCoastal Management
Issue number2
Early online date10 Feb 2017
Publication statusPublished - 04 Mar 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • customary marine tenure
  • fisheries moratorium
  • gender in fisheries
  • livelihood diversity
  • small-scale fisheries


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