Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Qoliqoli and a Turtle Story

from W.
Qoliqoli and a Turtle Story

We were talking about this much-hyped Qoliqoli Bill and Peceli said that there surely will be technical problems about the boundaries between the different sites, and how do you draw a line in the sea? So here’s my story about it.

Ari wants to go fishing for a turtle for Uncle Jeke’s birthday party.

It’s the year 2007 and nowadays there are pretty pink, yellow, green, and other coloured ribbons on the mangroves that show every fisherman where the boundaries of qoliqoli are. Ari’s boundaries are set with purple ribbons.

Okay, but does the vonu (turtle) know that?

Ari sees a lovely big turtle, nice and fat that will be excellent for the feast. Ari swims after it with his spear. Okay, the turtle looks back at him, winks and keeps swimming past the purple ribboned mangrove and stops and nibbles on some sea grass and looks back again.

Ari doesn’t know what to do so he says, ‘Hey Vonu. Just wait there, while I go to Auntie Susu and give her some grog so that I can come back and chase you again.’

Two hours later Ari is back in the sea and he’s got permission to use Auntie Susu’s qoliqoli. But the turtle has other ideas. He’s smart. He swims past the yellow-ribboned mangrove that denotes Auntie Susu’s boundary to Uncle Tomu’s qoliqoli which has red ribbons on the mangrove. The turtle looks back, smiles at Ari who is getting rather tired of swimming by now.

‘Hey Vonu. Just wait there, while I go to Uncle Tomu and giver him some grog so that I can come back and chase you again.’

Ari goes to Uncle Tomu’s village and takes his kava, but Uncle Tomu is a modern man and he reads the Fiji Times. He says, ‘No thank you, Ari. I want $50 in cash, then you can use my qoliqoli.'

Well, Ari goes to the moneylender, who has a canefarm on the side, and borrows $50.

And you can make up the rest of the story……..
So what do you think of the implications of the Qoliqoli Bill, especially how will boundaries be set and sighted? And how to tell the fish and sea creatures not to jump the borders when you are chasing them?


Anonymous said...

For all the reasons outlined and the fact that the Qoliqoli Bill does not include any provision for determining what adequate compensation should be for a variety activities for end commercial users ie resorts, it will further create more uncertainty in the tourism sector, which as you know is very fickle. With the rise in VAT, 3% bed tax and increased duty to 27% on a variety of imported food items, the cost to holiday in Fiji will be less competitive ongoing in what is such a critical sector in Fiji's economy. Regarding the Qoliqoli Bill, most tourism operators, including myself, already have long establilshed very positive relationships with the Qoliqoli Owners and have directly negotiated direct compensation, preferential employment and business relationships with the Qoliqoli Owners and traditional landowners. I also think that the end result if the Qoliqoli Bill is passed in its current form the direct benefit to Qoliqoli Owners will be severely reduced as the administration and implementation will be handled by the overly bureaucratic NLTB. But that is another story altogether...

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

Hmmm. Lawyers and in-between pen-pushers usually get the pearl and leave the oyster shells for the other two parties in a dispute.
I agree.

Pandabonium said...

The more I think about this, the more I think it will be a mess. Tourism aside, should not the sea be a part of the "commons"? With appropriate regulation to protect it and see that it is utilized for the benefit of Fiji as a whole?

If it is to be divided up for the profit (call it what it is) of local groups or rulers (how do we know who benefits?) then what is next? A charge for overflying airspace? A charge for breathing the air or flying a kite? Toll roads with the nations roads chopped up into sections with a toll both at each local village or district?

No. Some things should be owned and operated as common property of all the nation with proper oversight to prevent abuse.

(I could be wrong. My wife often says so. ;^) )

Peceli and Wendy's Blog said...

The topic is certainly stirring up emotions. Aspects of care of the sea need to be addressed - illegal over-fishing, the long-liners in the deeper water - and they come in close to get bait - the fly-by-night local guys, the loss of access to the sea by genuine subsistence families because of resorts, etc.

The topic has opened up so many problems, one of them opportunism to get money for nothing and also competing with relatives in nearby clans for the 'compensation' from resorts.

Yes, in an ideal world, land and sea belong to all those who are wise in using the resources. We shouldn't need policeman and laws. But it just ain't like that!

Looks like some aspects of the Qoliqoli Bill will have to go because it will create further problems. When it was originally mooted it wasn't thought right through - it just seemed a nice idea at the time.

Pandabonium said...

"Yes, in an ideal world, land and sea belong to all those who are wise in using the resources. We shouldn't need policeman and laws. But it just ain't like that!"

That is my point. Qoliqoli does not manage the commons, it seems to assume that local communities are capable of policing it, yet creates a financial incentive not to.

In Hawaii there are refuge areas, fishery controls, limits, licensing, etc. etc. To allow the public access to the sea, but not to destroy it. It isn't perfect, but it does avoid a lot of problems with local jurisdiction over ocean resources.

laminar_flow said...

Commons and native land are the same but for the members of that tribe.

For that commons to be extended for non tribal members like the public, then someone must pay.

It is the same as using a private road on private property as opposed to state roads and public space.