Journal of the Yamashina Institute for Ornithology
Online ISSN : 1883-3659
Print ISSN : 0044-0183
Sustainable Exploitation of Streaked Shearwaters Calonectris leucomelas on Mikura Island, off the Izu Peninsula, Japan
Nariko Oka
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1994 Volume 26 Issue 2 Pages 99-108_1


For at least 250 years, the harvesting of Streaked Shearwaters on Mikura Island was regulated by a series of traditionally developed and adopted rules based on ecological knowledge of the species that kept numbers at a steady level. The island's breeding population of streaked shearwaters it still one of the largest known in the north western Pacific. The traditional rules for harvesting were as follows: 1) only older chicks were allowed to be taken, 2) fowling was open on only a few days a year, and 3) only minimal disturbance of colonies was permitted during the breeding season. Chicks were taken for non-commercial uses at home and exchange with neighboring islands. Almost all parts of the chick bodies were used. The human population on Mikura Island was kept low due to the low carrying capacity of the island and the peculiar population control in the island society until the late 1800s, which also played an important role in avoiding over-exploitation of the shearwaters. Traditional taking of natural resources based on a good knowledge of ecology is quite different from the plundering of natural resources, which often occurred on other remote breeding islands of shearwaters and albatrosses caused by visitors without ecological knowledge.

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