Fisheries Privatization and the Remaking of Fishery Systems

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Abstract:

This article draws on directed ethnographic research and a review of literature to explore how the commodification of fishing rights discursively and materially remakes human-marine relationships across diverse regions. It traces the history of dominant economic theories that promote the privatization of fishing access for maximizing potential pro ts. It describes more recent discursive trends that link the ecological health of the world's oceans and their fisheries to widespread privatization. Together, these economic and environmental discourses have enrolled a broad set of increasingly vocal and powerful privatization proponents. The article provides specific examples of how nature-society relationships among people, oceans, and sh are remade as privatization policies take root in fishery systems. We conclude with an overview of several strategies of resistance. Across the world there is evidence of alternative discourses, economic logics, and cultures of fishing resistant to privatization processes, the assumptions that underlie them, and the social transitions they often generate.

Keywords: CATCH SHARES; FISHERIES; INDIVIDUAL TRANSFERABLE QUOTAS (ITQS); POLITICAL ECOLOGY; PRIVATIZATION

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.3167/ares.2012.030104

Publication date: December 1, 2012

More about this publication?
  • The field of research on environment and society is growing rapidly and becoming of ever-greater importance not only in academia but also in policy circles and for the public at large. This growth reflects the urgency of debate and the pace and scale of change with respect to the water crisis, deforestation, biodiversity loss, the looming energy crisis, nascent resource wars, environmental refugees, climate change, and environmental justice, which are just some of the many compelling challenges facing society today and in the future. It also reflects the richness and insights of scholarship exploring diverse cultural forms, social phenomena, and political-economic formations in which society and nature are intricately intertwined, if not indistinguishable.
    As a forum to address these issues, we are delighted to present an important new peer-reviewed annual: Environment and Society: Advances in Research. Through this journal we hope to stimulate advanced research and action on these and other critical issues and encourage international communication and exchange among all relevant disciplines.
    Environment and Society publishes critical reviews of the latest research literature on environmental studies, including subjects of theoretical, methodological, substantive, and applied significance. Articles also survey the literature regionally and thematically and reflect the work of anthropologists, geographers, environmental scientists, and human ecologists from all parts of the world in order to internationalize the conversations within environmental anthropology, environmental geography, and other environmentally oriented social sciences. The publication will appeal to academic, research, and policy-making audiences alike.

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