Wednesday, June 26 • 15:00 - 16:30
Ethical Governance of Fisheries: The Good, The Bad and The Wicked

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Chaired by; Lam, M.E.

Ethical Governance of Fisheries: The Good, The Bad and The Wicked
Mimi E. Lam, Tony J. Pitcher, Sahir Advani & Tony Charles
University of Bergen, University of British Columbia, & Saint Mary’s University

Ethical fisheries are increasingly alluded to in the scientific literature and popular press, but have not been well defined or analysed critically. In response to recent high-profile cases of human rights violations in the Thai prawn trade and the New Zealand deep-sea fishery, corporate social responsibility is high on the agendas of many international seafood companies. But whether this is merely to gain popular consumer support and market share or if it reflects a true sea change in the operations of fisheries and seafood corporations is unclear. Incipient research (Lam, Song, and Pitcher, manuscript in preparation) is identifying what constitutes ethical fisheries by examining clear-cut cases of unethical fisheries and acknowledging that truly ethical fisheries are idealistic. To evaluate the ‘ethicalness’ of fisheries, we integrate the concept of ‘wickedness’ into the domains of ethics and good governance. Wicked problems and good governance principles are well-established in fisheries, but have yet to be quantified. The evaluation framework operationalizes the interactive and good governance frameworks using the ‘Rapfish’ rapid appraisal methodology originally developed to assess the sustainability of fisheries. The panel speakers will apply this novel ethical governance framework to assess the degree of wickedness of diverse fishery contexts and case studies against their degree of good governance. A planned outcome of this MARE panel will be a synthesis publication of global fishery case studies assessed using the ethical governance framework. Understanding and evaluating ethical fisheries governance are precursors to gaining the requisite insight needed to recommend viable policy interventions to achieve more ethical and sustainable fisheries.

Exploring Ethical Trade-Offs in Multicultural Seafood Value Chains
Sahir Advani, Tony Pitcher, Mimi Lam

Small-scale fisheries often involve multiple actors from diverse cultures with varying roles in seafood value chains. Due to inherent power imbalances among diverse actors and inequities in the transmission of information regarding prices and market demand, fishery value chains are often rife with unethical practices. Moreover, ethical trade-offs come to a fore when economic values from seafood compete with the food security and nutritional values that small-scale fisheries offer to local communities. This study highlights the wicked ethical problems and governance issues present in the multicultural seafood value chains of the Andaman and Nicobar Islands, India. Cross-cultural and locally-contextualised fishery-related values help us arrive at this understanding. Cultural groups in our study have complex spatial and temporal histories of settlement in the archipelago, and include: the indigenous Nicobaris; Karens from the Burmese mountains; Bengalis from the Gangetic floodplains; and Telugu fishers from the Andhra coast. Ethical trade-offs in the archipelago’s multicultural value chains are assessed with a novel ethical governance framework based on interactive and good governance theories operationalized within a modified Rapfish framework. Our results indicate that understanding the diversity of values and ethical trade-offs in multicultural fisheries may offer solutions for more effective and ethical fisheries governance.

A Novel Ethical Fisheries Governance Framework: The Good, the Bad, and the Wicked
Mimi E. Lam, Andrew Song, and Tony J. Pitcher

We introduce an incipient ethical fisheries governance framework that offers conceptual and analytical novelty: we identify what constitutes ethical fisheries and assess the ‘ethicalness’ of diverse fisheries. First, we examine cases of patently unethical fisheries (“the bad”) to identify criteria of ethicalness. Second, we imagine ideal cases of ethical fisheries (“the good”) to set governance goals. Third, we recognize that most fisheries are neither decisively unethical nor ethical, but rather, are plagued by ethical issues whose specification depends on diverse values, interests, and perspectives (“the wicked”). To operationalize the concept of ethical fisheries governance, we build on two well-established concepts in the fisheries social science literature: wicked problems and good governance. We define the ‘ethical space’ of fisheries by delineating two dimensions: the degree of ‘wickedness’ (related to governability) and the degree of good governance (related to ethicalness). Through our ethical fisheries governance framework, we aim to establish practical guidelines of how to use qualitative expert judgment to assess the degree of wickedness of different fishery case studies against their degree of good governance. We adapt the semi-quantitative, flexible, and scalable rapid appraisal ‘Rapfish’ methodology developed to evaluate fisheries, with uncertainty, against various norms or goals, such as sustainability, approach to ecosystem-based management, and compliance to the UN Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. By assessing the ethicalness and analyzing the ethical space of diverse fisheries, our ethical governance framework can structure deliberations among scientists, stakeholders, and decision-makers to characterize their ethical governability before attempting to define concrete policy interventions to achieve more ethical fisheries.

avatar for Sahir Advani

Sahir Advani

PhD Candidate, University of British Columbia
avatar for Anthony Charles

Anthony Charles

Professor & Director, Community Conservation Research Network, Saint Mary's University
avatar for Mimi Lam

Mimi Lam

Marie Curie Fellow, University of Bergen
values, seafood ethics, governance, human dimensions of fisheries and aquaculture

Wednesday June 26, 2019 15:00 - 16:30
REC A2.09 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam