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Ownership, Authority & The Sea

Hello Friends

I hope you have had a joyous weekend filled with all the things that bring a smile to your face as you think about where your energies were spent this weekend.

We are nearing the end of the year and I thought I’d pin this ponder before we tap out of 2020…

I have been in deep thought about the ideals of ownership and authority when it comes to the ocean, and the place where I often find myself even more uncertain is the space of conservation.

Largely, how the community fits.

These wild waters belong to the communities that live around them and yet each time I converse with, the fingers point at a place not in the community.

And so I battle, because experts in ocean conservation cannot only be of western certified education but can also belong to the local people who have been with these waters for decades longer than anyone else, who have seen these waters change from climate change, can tell you about the different species available at different times of the year… they are experts too...

There's a place I dive at often and when I asked a few locals about what the local MPA does for the community, I was met with a few blank stares and nothing really at the end.

The provision of jobs is perhaps not the only way we engage with communities who’s waters we are protecting... I am still looking into this.. and with the dive businesses operating in the space… I have questions, like Instructor centres… what are they doing in the communities in which they operate… how do they involve the locals.. jobs are important yes, but how do we go deeper where the locals are skippers, cleaners but also participating meaningfully in the ocean economy?

How many instructors are taken into the instructor programs with each intake at no cost?

Are we speaking to schools about the possibilities of careers at sea?

Are we doing Ocean days where a particular grade is taken to sea even to snorkel once a year to grow and encourage the dream?

Are we giving locals preferential rates for certifications and to dive so its accessible to them too aside from the one in the community per year?

Are internships accessible to locals that don’t have endless barriers to entry like varying levels of the western but maybe the African accessible?

Could Citizen science be a tool to transform the industry so there are more locals participating in paid research?

How is the community accessing the Marine economy aside from working in it?

Is the MPA accountable only to its funders or the communities too?

Where are the girls?

And so, can we protect these oceans for more than the reason that 'this is the only income source in the house'?

Another time in Durban as we jumped from rock to rock was a human fishing, and the human I was with said he is not allowed to be fishing here at this time it’s outside the fishing hours. I turned perturbed and said what?! And he said he is outside of the fishing hours… The idea that there are hours where one can fish and one cannot baffled me. I ended this with an abrupt, only a privileged could put such in place because what if this human was at work before now? And in whatever his efforts are, should he get caught, there is a fine or worse… more rules that make criminals of ordinary humans. Rules that don’t benefit its people in the least.

And so I battle.

What does it mean for Ownership and Authority to belong to the communities that live around this ocean, which is theirs.

And what does it mean for the various efforts to exclude the local communities, who’s waters it is.

And what does it mean to have open commentary for laws being passed through means that are inaccessible to the communities that live around these oceans.

And what does it mean to engage and depart from the community’s point of view so they are a part of the collective efforts of saving their seas.

For the communities to be the guardians of these seas with assistance yes but largely their efforts?

What does it mean to develop vs empower?

I don’t know. As I do more research on the matter, what is on the surface is a large exclusion of the communities, particularly economically. This troubles me greatly aside from the walls and booms that kept the community out while I figure what they do past these boom gates.

Intentional collective efforts remain the only way industry is diversified and becomes inclusive.

The current status of the face of water, the economy in the Marine Industry and the access has all been intentional. The re-writing of this narrative will require an equal amount of this energy, I am open to your thoughts and educating of this human.

Have a stunner week friends, we missed the live this week and with travels into the eastern cape this week, network will be a great factor on if we have a live this week, I do miss you all!


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