Socio-cultural Considerations for Sport Fishing Development

Many communities in PNG lack basic infrastructure and services.

Papua New Guinea is one of the most culturally diverse, least explored countries in the world. Approximately 97% of the land falls under customary ownership, which also extends to aquatic environments.

The majority of people live in rural communities and subsist on traditional agriculture and fisheries practices. Customary management systems govern the use, access, and transfer of natural resources and also ensure community harmony, which is founded on the importance of ancestors, identity, and place.

Because place is so fundamental to people’s subsistence and identity, any new developments related to use of natural resources require culturally appropriate processes of local understanding and negotiation.

Further, high levels of autonomy of many communities to Western influence, means that the introduction of contrasting Western practices such as cash-based economies should be carefully planned, taking into account socio-cultural needs, capacities and vulnerabilities.


Rural communities in PNG subsist primarily by harvesting natural resources from the land and sea.

Tourism development that meets these criteria has the potential to provide mutual benefits to tourists and local people; fuelling community development and enhancing the cultural experience of tourists.

The socio-cultural component of this research aims to work with communities to identify their perceptions and capacity needs related to tourism development, taking into account the need for complementarity and synergy between local traditions and the growth of sustainable sport fishing in PNG.


In countries like PNG where sense of “place” is fundamental, researchers can use satellite images from Google Earth to communicate with local people about their needs and perspectives related to development in their communities.

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