Yap State trochus marketing authority: A novel approach to financial management of living natural resources
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AbstractYap State, part of the Federated States of Micronesia, is one of the newly developing nations in the Pacific trying to rationalize the conservation and management of its abundant natural marine resources. As part of the Federated States of Micronesia, Yap's Government expenditure for resource management is almost totally dependent on foreign aid and the Government recognizes the vulnerability of this source. Also recognized is the fact that economic self-sufficiency is a long way from realization and that funds for the proper management of natural resources are in jeopardy.Coupled with this fiscal uncertainty, Yap State is also in a state of transition in delineation of ultimate responsibility for Government, as traditional powers are still very influential. In addition, there are legal and practical impediments to free trade and efficient marketing of the State's natural resources.The trochus shell, which has been harvested from Yap since 1915, is a valuable export commodity and has been catalytic in the creation of a novel approach to natural resource management and marketing. Having been approved by the Governor and the traditional chiefs, a Bill is now before the Yap Legislature to cause the creation of a Trochus Marketing Authority. The functions of this body will be to totally manage the biological and marketing aspects of the trochus fishery, to sell the harvested trochus on the international market, and to cover the total costs of this management from the sale of the product. Thus, the management of the resource will be closely coupled with the resource rent generated.

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