The political economy and ecology of fisheries

Below is a guest post by my colleague and workout buddy, Dr Elizabeth Havice, a fisheries economist and tuna guru in the Department of Geography here at UNC.

And what of the people, places, politics, and economics behind change in fisheries systems?

Here on SeaMonster we see all sorts of amazing stories about the creatures that inhabit the oceans and we all hear a lot about their plight from Big Forces like overfishing and climate change. Looking through the ‘best of’ Sea Monster, the queue is populated with stories of environmental change, many of which intersect with fishing sectors – being a social scientist specializing in fisheries production systems, these are the stories that are most of interest to me (well, alongside the awesome footage of big waves and smart cephalopods, that is). But it seems that often stories about Big Forces in fisheries obscure as much as they reveal. For example, we learn the anatomy of a shark heist is surely linked to the high price that someone is willing to pay for those shark fins, but who? And how do the fishers doing the deed connect to those markets? In the Forum on Fish Food and People, leading scientists debate if fisheries management regimes are strong enough that we should promote consumption of fish as a healthy and renewable source of animal protein, but what environmental and economic processes happen between fisheries management and the moment when our favorite species arrive on our dinner plates? Are those processes the same for me as they are for a fish-eater in Japan? In the Gambia?

My colleagues Liam Campling and Penny Howard and I decided that getting at the answers to these kinds of questions might help to illuminate the relationships between environmental and socio-economic changes in fisheries systems. We asked some colleagues and friends who we know are up to their eyeballs in fish (occupational hazard!) to contribute to a special issue of the Journal of Agrarian Change focusing on the political and economic dynamics that are behind the changes that we are seeing in fisheries systems (see below for blurb and table of contents for the issue). We think that the collection helps to shed some light on the historical and socio-ecological complexity of capture fisheries and we hope the readers of SeaMonster might be interested in having a look. The volume is split up into three main sections that investigate: 1) market dynamics and competition in fisheries production and consumption systems, 2) labor and relations of exploitation and resistance (read: who works in fisheries and how do they earn a living?), 3) and resource access and regulation in fisheries systems characterized by vague property rights. The volume has case studies from around the world and on topics as diverse as identifying the origins of fishworker social movements in India to how shrimp processing firms use MSC certification to control their access to raw materials. Please have a look! – Elizabeth Havice, PhD

SPECIAL ISSUE EDITORIAL
The Political Economy and Ecology of Capture Fisheries: Market Dynamics, Resource Access and Relations of Exploitation and Resistance (pages 177–203)
LIAM CAMPLING, ELIZABETH HAVICE and PENNY McCALL HOWARD
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00356.x
PART I: MARKET DYNAMICS AND COMPETITION IN FISHERIES PRODUCTION-CONSUMPTION SYSTEMS
The Commodification of Bluefin Tuna: The Historical Transformation of the Mediterranean Fishery (pages 204–226)
STEFANO B. LONGO and BRETT CLARK
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00348.x

 

The Political Economy of Household Commodity Production in the Louisiana Shrimp Fishery (pages 227–251)
BRIAN MARKS
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00353.x

 

The Tuna ‘Commodity Frontier’: Business Strategies and Environment in the Industrial Tuna Fisheries of the Western Indian Ocean (pages 252–278)
LIAM CAMPLING
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00354.x

 

Inland Capture Fisheries and Large River Systems: A Political Economy of Mekong Fisheries (pages 279–299)
CHRISTOPHER SNEDDON and COLEEN FOX
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00350.x

 

The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Making of a Market for ‘Sustainable Fish’ (pages 300–315)
STEFANO PONTE
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00345.x
PART II: LABOUR, RELATIONS OF EXPLOITATION AND RESISTANCE
Sharing or Appropriation? Share Systems, Class and Commodity Relations in Scottish Fisheries (pages 316–343)
PENNY McCALL HOWARD
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00355.x

 

The Changing Political Economy of Occupational Health and Safety in Fisheries: Lessons from Eastern Canada and South Africa (pages 344–363)
DANA HOWSE, MOHAMED F. JEEBHAY and BARBARA NEIS
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00343.x

 

Transnationality and the Indian Fishworkers’ Movement, 1960s–2000 (pages 364–389)
SUBIR SINHA
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00349.x
PART III: RESOURCE ACCESS AND STATES
The Political Economy of Fishing Rights and Claims: The Maori Experience in New Zealand (pages 390–412)
MICHAEL DE ALESSI
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00346.x

 

Fishing for Development? Tuna Resource Access and Industrial Change in Papua New Guinea (pages 413–435)
ELIZABETH HAVICE and KRISTIN REED
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00351.x

 

The Political Economy of Marine Stewardship Council Certification: Processors and Access in Newfoundland and Labrador’s Inshore Shrimp Industry (pages 436–457)
PAUL FOLEY
Article first published online: 5 MAR 2012 | DOI: 10.1111/j.1471-0366.2011.00344.x

 

Leave a Reply