Schwerdtner Máñez, Kathleen and Ferse, Sebastian C.A. (2010) The History of Makassan Trepang Fishing and Trade. PLoS ONE, 5 (6). e11346. DOI https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011346.

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Abstract

The Malayan term trepang describes a variety of edible holothurians commonly known as sea cucumbers. Although found in temperate and tropical marine waters all over the world, the centre of species diversity and abundance are the shallow coastal waters of Island Southeast Asia. For at least 300 years, trepang has been a highly priced commodity in the Chinese market. Originally, its fishing and trade was a specialized business, centred on the town of Makassar in South Sulawesi (Indonesia). The rise of trepang fishing in the 17th century added valuable export merchandize to the rich shallow seas surrounding the islands of Southeast Asia. This enabled local communities to become part of large trading networks and greatly supported their economic development. In this article, we follow Makassan trepang fishing and trading from its beginning until the industrialization of the fishery and worldwide depletion of sea cucumbers in the 20th century. Thereby, we identify a number of characteristics which trepang fishing shares with the exploitation of other marine resources, including (1) a strong influence of international markets, (2) the role of patron-client relationships which heavily influence the resource selection, and (3) the roving-bandit-syndrome, where fishermen exploit local stocks of valuable resources until they are depleted, and then move to another area. We suggest that understanding the similarities and differences between historical and recent exploitation of marine resources is an important step towards effective management solutions.

Document Type: Article
Research affiliation: Social Sciences > Social-Ecological Systems Analysis
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
DOI etc.: https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0011346
ISSN: 1932-6203
Date Deposited: 01 Oct 2019 17:07
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 13:00
URI: http://cris.leibniz-zmt.de/id/eprint/3009

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