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Welcome to V2: community

‘I work in marine conservation; therefore, I work with local communities’ begins Katherine Arroyo-Arce in her article, ‘The role of NGOs in coastal communities: a Latin American viewpoint’. Although this viewpoint is obvious to many, still we see a vast lack of inclusion of local communities in marine resource conservation globally. I, myself have witnessed this lack of integration, or worse, nominal inclusion, in many conservation initiatives both overseas, and on my own doorstep. In Scotland, a recently scrapped initiative to implement Highly Protected Marine Areas in traditionally fished Scottish waters catalysed outrage from marginalised local fishing communities, who, if this had gone ahead, would have been excluded from their main form of livelihood. The fishers released a protest song, called The Clearances Again, referencing the forced evictions of Scottish highlanders and islanders in the mid-to-late 18th century, resulting in the destruction of the heritage and traditions of clan society. The lyrics speak of the injustices of not integrating communities and their heritage into marine conservation practice:


My people, my language, my Island

And the rights that our forefathers won

To remain on the soil of our homeland

By the sweep of a pen will be gone

A wrecking ball through our existence

Tradition and culture condemned

At the hands of the arrogant stranger

The Clearances over again

The Clearances Again, Skipinnish



The question of how to effectively engage with community knowledge and heritage is first to understand and respect it. In the article ‘Cornwall’s seafaring legacy: weaving community bonds for a sustainable future’, Rob McDowell talks of boat-building and sailing in England’s south coast: ‘Our living history isn't a static relic but a dynamic force that shapes the present and the future. Understanding this force is the key to how we can continue to thrive as a coastal community’. In Imara Bella Thorpe’s article, ‘Mikoko (Mangroves): The community efforts to restore a mangrove ecosystem in Mida Creek, Kenya’, Imara muses on the connections between people and our environments, reminding us of the important (yet often overlooked) relationship between people, culture, and environmental management: ‘Existing among the mangroves, it is hard to ignore the amount of organisms this ecosystem supports, and importantly, how you fit into it.’


In seavoice V2, we ask the question: who are we preserving the marine environment for? What comes first, the conservation of nature, or community? What lessons have we yet to learn about the deep-rooted connections between people and nature? What role does culture and heritage play in sustainable conservation? How have colonial practices impacted community, nature, and heritage conservation?


To answer these questions, we have looked to an international set of authors from different ocean disciplines who are engaged with coastal communities all over the world. From the Red Sea to the Atlantic, we have asked the difficult questions, and have received a wealth of knowledge, of which we are very happy to share with you today. As we present our findings as fables, we also present the justice, equity, and advocacy behind our work – we present the point. Welcome to seavoice v2: community, where we add a little more science to our story, and a little more story to our science.




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