Inderscience Publishers

World and local heritage, the relationships between conservation and development: the example of the Coelacanth

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The Coelacanth, single survivor of the zoological group of Crossopterygians, in which is supposed to have appeared the ancestor of terrestrial Vertebrates, represents perfectly the emblematical living heritage of the earth. After the discovery of the first actual Coelacanth (in 1938), specimens have been fished in Comoros waters. The archipelago considers it now as a national heritage. But the fish is endangered and the international community there is attempting to preserve it by creating a marine park. Consequently, the populations on its borders consider it both a local heritage and an economic opportunity for development. This paper explores the meaning that the expressions "world heritage" and "local heritage" have for the actors involved and analyses the problems raised by the management of a world heritage on a local scale, in a context of great poverty.

Keywords: Coelacanth, heritage, the Comoros, conservation, development

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