Tuesday, June 25 • 16:45 - 18:15
Blue growth: Social development and environmental protection or a 'blue fix'?

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Chaired by: Pedersen, C.

Panel title: Blue growth: social development and environmental protection or a ‘blue fix’?
Carsten Pedersen & Mads Barbesgaard (The Transnational Institute, Lund University)

This panel offers a critical conversation on the scale and impact of capital investments into ocean-space. The ocean and its resources are increasingly framed as providing a new frontier for capital accumulation through what is being called ‘blue growth’. This blue growth is simultaneously touted as the solution to a range of crises (finance, food, climate and energy) that triggered in the wake of 2007/8. While proponents see win-win-win solutions and ample opportunities to implement the blue growth agenda through different emerging multistakeholder processes (e.g. SDGs), fisher movements are ramping up campaigns against blue growth, framing the ensuing shifts in control of and access to ocean-space as ‘ocean grabbing’ instead. The panel will therefore also engage with representatives from fisher movements on which opportunities there are for cooperation between movements and critical and engaged academics interrogating these transformations in ocean-space.

Livelihood transitions from fishing to tourism: the role of land tenure
Michael Fabinyi

Coastal and maritime tourism has been supported by the growth of middle-class tourist markets, the promotion of governments who view it as an important avenue for economic growth, and the backing of environmental organisations who see it as an alternative, more environmentally sustainable livelihood than capture fisheries. How policymakers and households in coastal areas negotiate the challenges and opportunities associated with growing tourism and declining capture fisheries is becoming an increasingly important phenomenon. Drawing on extended ethnographic fieldwork from the Philippines between 2006-2018, this paper examines the transition from fishing to tourism and the consequences for a coastal community. I focus on how land tenure is a key variable that shapes the impacts and opportunities associated with livelihood transitions from fishing to tourism. While tourism itself has not been inherently positive or negative for the local community, their ability to negotiate the boom and obtain the full benefits out of it is questionable. Many fishers have switched their primary livelihood activity to tourism, e.g. through the construction of tourist boats, working as tour guides or providing accommodation. However, the growth of tourism has catalysed several attempts to evict the community, including local elites aiming to develop resorts on the coast and, more recently a push by the national administration to ‘clean up’ tourist sites around the country. I argue that land tenure in coastal communities needs to become more of a focus for researchers working in small-scale fisheries, as well as researchers working on land rights.

Can academia support fisher movements to gain more power in the sector?
Mogamad Naseegh Jaffer

“[Academics] should enhance the capacity of small-scale fishing communities in order to enable them to participate in decision-making processes” - chapter 12 of the SSF Guidelines
I speak as a representative of the World Forum of Fisher Peoples representing some 10 million fisher peoples worldwide. I will argue that states, academia and other actors have failed to support fisher movements on their own terms and conditions. Some positive initiatives can be highlighted but considering the vast amounts of resources (including funding from governments and private foundations) used on development programmes and research on small-scale fisheries, we can conclude that only a tiny fraction of those resources are made available to movements themselves. If academics buy into the spirit of the SSF guidelines – with emphasis on ‘capacity development’ – we must explore how they can best contribute to the empowerment of fisher movements?

Brainstorming a social scientific research agenda for the Blue Economy
Michelle Voyer

The Blue Economy, sometimes also called ‘Blue Growth’, is a contested, yet increasingly influential concept which is gaining considerable traction in ocean based sustainable development narratives. The concept has been championed by institutions around the world as coastal states explore the economic opportunities that exist within and beyond their ocean jurisdictions. Yet there is no common agreement of what the terms ‘Blue Economy’ and ‘Blue Growth’ mean either in principle or in practice, with evidence to date pointing to the term being co-opted by many different actors according to often competing agendas and objectives. This gives rise to a range of challenges which social scientists will play a crucial role in identifying, critiquing and, where possible, resolving. This innovative panel will aim to use a collaborative, brainstorming approach to articulating the challenges and opportunities that a Blue Economy provides, and the key social science questions that will need to be addressed as the concept evolves. The session will consist of a diverse panel of social scientists working on various dimensions of the Blue Economy, each speaking to a different Blue Economy theme. The panel will also include audience participation and discussion and aims to identify a prioritized agenda for future Blue Economy research.


Tuesday June 25, 2019 16:45 - 18:15
REC A1.04 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam