This review article synthesizes the authors' several decades of multidisciplinary natural and social science and applied marine resource management experience in the Asia-Pacific region to examine the strengthening of coastal and marine resource management and conservation using alliances between local communities and external institutions. The objective is to assist the design of resource management and conservation programs that enhance the capacity of coastal communities in Oceania to confront both diminishing marine resources and the effects of climate change by providing guidelines for protecting marine biodiversity and vulnerable ecosystem functions. This article describes a management framework that hybridizes local beliefs and institutions expressed in customary management (CM) with such modern management concepts as marine protected areas (MPAs) and ecosystem-based management (EBM). Hybrid management accommodates the social, political, economic, and cultural contexts of Oceanic communities and, compared with recent or conventional management approaches, can therefore better address fundamental local concerns such as coastal degradation, climate change, sea level rise, weak governance, corruption, limited resources and staff to manage and monitor marine resources, and increasing poverty. Research on the hybridization of management systems demonstrates opportunities to establish context-appropriate EBM and/or other managerial arrangements that include terrestrial and adjacent coastal-marine ecosystems. Formal and informal CM systems are widespread in Oceania and in some parts of Southeast Asia, and if appropriate strategies are employed rapid progress toward hybrid CM-EBM could be enabled.
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