Indigenous people have been stewarding the ocean for thousands of years. This stewardship has appeared in many different forms around the world, all of which represent a reciprocal relationship between humans and the sea rooted in deep, place-based knowledge. From octopus houses in Haida Gwaii to fish ponds in Hawai’i, an Indigenous mariculture renaissance is making waves as groups across the Pacific seek to revitalize these ancient techniques and traditions.

For the first time, information about a multitude of Indigenous cultivation practices has been collected into a cohesive online repository. Sea Gardens Across the Pacific: Reawakening Ancestral Mariculture Innovations is a new interactive, “living” story map that synthesizes knowledge about Indigenous aquaculture throughout the Pacific region, including the west coasts of North, Central and South America; the east coasts of Asia, Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand; Oceania and coastlines in between. The project shows these local initiatives are not one-off projects, but rather pieces of a global story. A story that is being told by Indigenous knowledge holders, and further amplified by diverse collaborators who created the story map.

Many ancestral mariculture practices were subverted over time by colonialist attitudes and policies that targeted the erasure of Indigenous cultures and the separation of people from wilderness. As industrialization-caused ocean change continues to imperil marine resources, reviving ancient practices could help protect these ecosystems and the people that rely on them today.

Read more at Washington Sea Grant »