Integrated marine planning for Cocos (Keeling), an isolated Australian atoll (Indian Ocean)
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The Cocos (Keeling) Islands are located on an isolated atoll in the Indian Ocean and have a strong Malay culture owing to the translocation of a substantial plantation workforce in the early 19th century. The atoll became one of Australia's External Territories in 1955. Meeting the marine resource needs of the atoll residents within an Australian legislative system by formulating an integrated marine management plan presented several challenges. Key factors in drafting a culturally meaningful plan were a commitment to understanding and accommodating the cultural and subsistence needs of the community, innovative communication strategies, and a simple approach to management. Development of the plan highlighted the limitations of current Australian marine planning legislation in cross-cultural settings and for sustainable development.