Dr Hugh Govan

Dr Hugh Govan Image

University of Gibraltar:

Lecturers & Tutors


Hugh was born in Scotland, raised in Spain and lived 6 years each in Solomon Islands and Costa Rica followed by 18 years around the Pacific Region based in Fiji.  He has explored a diversity of areas, both geographically (sailed across the Atlantic in 1982, explored in the Colombian Amazon 1998-2001) and thematically (biology, aquaculture, economics, development, linguistics, ethnobiology, human rights). He is freelance and a key adviser to the Locally Managed Marine Area Network (LMMA) in Asia and the Pacific since its inception in 2000, honorary member of the Indigenous and Community Conserved Area (ICCA) Consortium and Adjunct Senior Fellow at USP’s School of Law and Social Sciences since 2017.
His main interest has been empowering, or at least defending, indigenous and community livelihoods around the world including in the areas of traditional medicine and knowledge, sustainable livelihoods, conservation, fisheries and territory/tenure.   Happiest working at the community level, particularly in Solomon Islands, he has attempted to provide tools for facilitating participatory community and small-scale fisheries governance and livelihoods and ensuring that their interests are better reflected in governance by co-authoring major regional ocean policies including the Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape, SPC’s Noumea Strategy on Coastal Fisheries, Melanesian Spearhead Group Roadmap for Coastal Fisheries,  the Pacific Framework for Action on Scaling up Community-based Fisheries Management: 2021-2025 and leading drafting of national policy such as Fiji’s Ocean Policy Framework, Solomon Islands’ National Plan of Action for the Coral Triangle and PNG’s Roadmap for coastal fisheries and marine aquaculture: 2017-2026.
Clear flaws in national and regional governance have led to work on reducing corruption risks in the Pacific (UNODC), regional civil society declarations and board membership on the Fisheries Transparency Initiative (FiTI), Fiji Environmental Law Association (FELA) and the journal Marine Policy. Concerns around increasing North/South inequity and its reflection in neo-colonial global conservation paradigms has led to work on advocacy for communities and small-scale fishers including codes of conduct and critique of the 30 by 30 protected area campaign. Recent work includes stocktakes of coastal marine protected areas, community-based fisheries management and enabling institutional and legal environments in all Pacific Islands Countries and Territories for World Bank, IUCN and SPC.
Hugh has a PhD from Heriot-Watt University in Edinburgh (1994) and has taught at post graduate and professional development levels at the University of Bremen, University of Costa Rica, Universidad Católica del Norte and University of the South Pacific.


  • *Zanjani, L., Govan, H., Jonas, H., Karfakis, T., Mwamidi, D. M., Stewart, J., Walters, G., Dominguez, P. 2023. Territories of life as key to global environmental sustainability. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability, 63, 101298.
  • UN-PRAC 2023. Corruption below water – Improving Governance through Corruption Prevention in the Fisheries Sector of the Pacific Island Countries. United Nations Office  on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) and United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
  • Garcia, S.M.; Rice, J.; Link, J.; Sowman, M.; Charles, A.; Augustyn, C.J.; Penas Lado, E.; Morishita, J.; Campbell, D.; Kirkegaard, E.; Govan, H. 2023. Area-based management tools and fisheries: History, definitions, roles, typologies, tensions, synergies, trade-offs, and effectiveness. Brussels, EBCD. Gland, IUCN-CEM-FEG. Available at
  • Govan H., Lalavanua W. 2023. The “Pacific Way” of coastal fisheries management: Status and progress of community-based fisheries management. SPC Fisheries Newsletter #169:33–47.
  • *Wolff, M., Ferse, S.C., Govan, H. (eds). 2023. Challenges in Tropical Coastal Zone Management. Springer, Cham.
  • *Ferguson, C. E., Tuxson, T., Mangubhai, S., Jupiter, S., Govan, H. Bonito, V., Alefaio S., Anjiga, M., Booth, J., Boslogo, T., Boso, D., Brenier, A., Caginitoba A., Ciriyawa, A., Fahai’ono, J. B., Fox, M., George, A., Eriksson, H., Hughes, A., Joseph, E., Kadannged, S., Kubunavanua, E., Loni, S., Meo, S., Micheli, F., Nagombi, E., Omaro, R., Ride, A., Sapul, A., Singeo, A., Stone, K., Vakalalabure M., Tuivuna, M., , C., Vitukawalu, V.. B., & Waide, M. (2022). Local practices and production confer resilience to rural Pacific food systems during the COVID-19 pandemic. Marine Policy, 137, 104954.
  • Pacific Community 2021. Pacific Framework for Action on Scaling up Community-based Fisheries Management: 2021-2025. Noumea, New Caledonia: Pacific Community. 22 p. (lead drafter H. Govan).
  • *van der Ploeg, J.; Sukulu, M.; Govan, H.; Minter, T.; Eriksson, H. 2020. Sinking Islands, Drowned Logic; Climate Change and Community-Based Adaptation Discourses in Solomon Islands. Sustainability. 12, 7225.
  • *Aburto, JA, C. Gaymer and H. Govan. 2020. A large-scale marine protected area for the sea of Rapa Nui: From ocean grabbing to legitimacy. Ocean & Coastal Management, Volume 198, ISSN 0964-5691,
  • Govan H., H. Eriksson, M. Batalofo, A. Duarte, M. Sukulu, S. Lawless, A. Tilley, and J. Van Der Ploeg. 2019. A new idea for coastal fisheries: asking the right questions to enhance coastal livelihoods. The Pacific Community, New Caledonia. 23pp.
  • Coastal Fisheries Working Group. 2019. A call to leaders: Most urgent actions required for sustaining or increasing the contribution of coastal fisheries to our communities. H. Govan, lead author.  SPC publications, Noumea.
  • NFA 2017. A Roadmap for coastal fisheries and marine aquaculture for Papua New Guinea: 2017-2026. National Fisheries Authority, PNG. H. Govan, lead author and coordinator.
  • Govan, H. 2017, ‘Ocean Governance – Our Sea of Islands’ in Katafono, R. (ed.), A Sustainable Future for Small States: Pacific 2050, Commonwealth Secretariat, London. ISBN (paperback): 978-1-84929-163-7 / (e-book): 978-1-84859-957-4
  • Govan, H. 2014. The Pacific Islands and Biodiversity Beyond National Jurisdiction (BBNJ). Briefing note of the Council of Regional Organisations in the Pacific members of the Marine Sector Working Group.
  • *Jupiter, S. D., Cohen, P. J., Weeks, R., Tawake, A., & Govan, H. (2014). Locally-managed marine areas: multiple objectives and diverse strategies. Pacific Conservation Biology, 20(2), 165-179.
  • Govan, H. 2013. Strategic Review of Inshore Fisheries Policies and Strategies in Melanesia: Fiji, New Caledonia, Papua New Guinea, Solomon Islands, and Vanuatu. Part I: General Overview. Part II: Country reports and data (with Jeff Kinch and Alexandre Brjosniovschi). Reports to the Secretariat of the Pacific Community for the Melanesian Spearhead Group, Noumea, New Caledonia.
  • *Govan, H. And S. Jupiter. 2013. Can the IUCN 2008 Protected Areas Management Categories support Pacific island approaches to conservation? PARKS 19(1) 73-80.
  • Carleton, C., J. Hambrey, H. Govan and P. Medley. 2013.  Effective management of sea cucumber fisheries and the bêche-de-mer trade in Melanesia: bringing the industry under rational control. A report prepared by Nautilus Consultants on Behalf of the Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC)
  • *Melick DR, Kinch JP, Govan H. 2012. How Global Biodiversity Targets Risk Becoming Counterproductive: The Case of Papua New Guinea. Conservat Soc 2012;10:344-53
  • Govan, H., A. Schwarz and D. Boso. 2011. Towards Integrated Islands Management: Lessons from Lau, Malaita, Solomon Islands, for the implementation of national approaches to resource management. Report for WorldFish Centre and SPREP 62pp.
  • FLMMA, 2011. FLMMA Operations Guide – The Way We Work Together. Guidelines for members of the FLMMA Network. (H. Govan and S. Meo – compilers)
  • Pratt, C. and H. Govan. 2010. Our Sea of Islands, Our Livelihoods, Our Oceania. Framework for a Pacific Oceanscape: a catalyst for implementation of ocean policy. (Includes the policy). SPREP, Apia, Samoa.
  • Govan, H. 2009. Chapter 6.2: Approaches for coastal planning and resource management. People, participation and the tropical scientist. pp 172-196 In Tropical waters and their living resources: their ecology, assessment and management. M. Wolff (ed.), Verlag H.M. Hauschild GmbH, Bremen, Germany.
  • Govan, H., Tawake, A., Tabunakawai, K., Jenkins, A.,Lasgorceix, A., Schwarz, A.-M., Aalbersberg, B., Manele,B., Vieux, C., Notere, D., Afzal, D., Techera, E.,Rasalato, E. T., Sykes, H., Walton, H., Tafea, H.,Korovulavula, I., Comley, J., Kinch, J., Feehely, J., Petit,J., Heaps, L., Anderson, P., Cohen, P., Ifopo, P., Vave,R., Hills, R., Tawakelevu, S., Alefaio, S., Meo, S.,Troniak, S., Malimali, S., Kukuian, S., George, S.,Tauaefa, T. and Obed, T. 2009. Status and potential of locally-managed marine areas in the Pacific Island Region: meeting nature conservation and sustainable livelihood targets through wide-spread implementation of LMMAs. SPREP/WWF/WFC-Reefbase/CRISP. 80pp + 5 annexes. SPREP, Apia, Samoa. ISBN: 978-982-04-0402-1 (last edition
  • Govan, H., Aalbersberg, W., Tawake, A., and Parks, J. 2008. Locally-Managed Marine Areas: A guide to supporting Community-Based Adaptive Management. The Locally-Managed Marine Area Network English / French
  • National Geographic/Center for Support of Native Lands. 2002.  Map of Indigenous Peoples and Natural Ecosystems in Central America and Southern Mexico.  National Geographic Society, Washington DC.
  • Govan, H. 2001. Asking the fishermen: Prospects for participatory management of Danube sturgeon. Policy Matters, Newsletter of the IUCN Commission on Environmental, Economic and Social Policy, no. 8, 19-21.
  • Borrini-Feyerabend, G., M.T Farvar,  V. Solis and H. Govan. 2001. Manejo conjunto de los recursos naturales. GTZ y IUCN. Kasparek Verlag, Heidelberg, Germany.
  • Govan, H. 1999. Empowering local communities to reverse the decline of coral reef ecosystems in Fiji. Foundation of the Peoples of the South Pacific, Fiji, Suva.
  • Govan, H. 1998. Community turtle conservation at Río Oro on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica. Marine Turtle Newsletter 80: 10-11.
  • *Inglis, A., H. Govan and S. Guy. 1997. Local voices to the surface: participatory Coastal Zone Management in the Solway Firth.  PLA Notes 30.
  • Govan, H. 1995. Cymatium muricinum and other ranellid gastropods: major predators of maricultured tridacnid clams. ICLARM Technical Report 49.
  • Govan, H. 1993. Participatory research in giant clam farming. Naga, The ICLARM Quarterly, January, p8-10.
  • Govan, H. 1993. Flying fish season (Tauika) in Bellona. Naga, The ICLARM Quarterly, January, p6-7.
  • Govan, H., P.V. Nichols and H. Tafea. 1988. Giant clam resource investigations in Solomon Islands. In Copland, J.W., and Lucas, J.S. Giant clams in Asia and the Pacific. ACIAR Monograph No. 9: 54-57.
  • Govan, H. 1986. The Use of Polycyclic Aromatic Sulphur Heterocycles (PASH) as Indicators of Oil Pollution in the common Mussel (Mytilus edulis L.) – Firth of Forth, Edinburgh, Scotland. B.Sc. Hons Thesis, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland. DOI: 10.13140/RG.2.2.10463.18085
  • (*academic peer reviewed)