Wednesday, June 26 • 16:45 - 18:15
Theorizing crime, conflict and contestation at sea

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Chaired by: Nootenboom, G.

Critical and constructive engagements: Political ecologies of the ocean and coastal environment
Nathan J. Bennett

Themes of political ecology, such as power and politics, narratives and knowledge, scale and history, environmental justice and equity, are useful for helping us to understand ocean governance and coastal management. This is particularly true as the marine environment is increasingly busy and degraded, which is leading to contestation and conflict over both marine resources and areas of the ocean. This review paper will examine research on the aforementioned themes of political ecology in the ocean and coastal environment and reflect on how the insights gained might be applied to governance and management. Review results highlight how political ecology provides important insights into: the influence of power in ocean management and governance processes; the manner in which narratives, knowledge, and scale are used to legitimize and shape policies and management efforts; the effects of historical trajectories on present circumstances, options, and practices; and the nature of inequities and environmental injustices that can occur in the marine environment. In conclusion, this paper will discuss how political ecologists can move from critical to constructive engagements, through examining several projects where political ecologists have engaged in collaborative research projects with communities and stakeholders to co-produce knowledge and re-imagine future scenarios for ocean and coastal governance.

Setting a scene of worldwide fisheries conflicts: common ‘who’s, ‘why’s and ‘where’s?
Lol Iana Dahlet

In the context of an ever-globalized world, the oceans are prey to quickly evolving interests from increasingly various stakeholders that compete for space and marine resources. Physical and ecological scarcity likely go hand in hand with rising tensions, often embodied in the form of tenure issues. Conflicts over worldwide fisheries are key to assess if we want to improve our understanding on how to help to secure and enhance fisheries sustainability from social, economic and ecological perspectives. Capture fisheries directly employ 120 million people, and land around 90 million tons annually. For the many who rely on their catch for subsistence, there is little margin for coping with change. The stakes are high, and when complex challenges arise, mutually agreeable solutions must be found to ensure the best outcome for all stakeholders.
Depicting and finding common patterns in the ‘who’s, ‘why’s and ‘where’s of 64 on-going worldwide fisheries conflicts is the aim of this paper. Mapping fisheries conflicts features will also contribute to introduce the debate of (non-)existing (inter)national resolution mechanisms, with a focus on the role of the existing sea tenure systems. This study ensues from a global effort to improve the knowledge on the state of tenure and user rights in fisheries, evidenced by the recompilation of 74 case studies from 45 countries issuing from the UserRights 2018 Conference (September 2018, Yeosu, South Korea), organized by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations jointly with the Ministry of Oceans and Fisheries of the Republic of Korea.

Do people deal with overfed oceans? A journey through coastal eutrophication-related conflicts and social movements
Alix Levain, Carole Barthélémy, Magalie Bourblanc, Jean-Marc Douguet, Agathe Euzen & Yves Souchon

Despite harmful local consequences on coastal communities and biodiversity, eutrophication of marine systems resulting from high levels of nutrients loading from human origin, only recently gained public visibility. Representing a major land-based pollution, it is now considered as the most reliable and striking symptom of hardly reversible disruption of biogeochemical nutrients cycles at a global scale, due to massive phosphate ore extraction and industrial synthesis of reactive nitrogen.
In most of the cases, the experience of local people was insufficient to trigger stringent public policies, the lack of effectivity of public action being often presented as a result of local antagonisms and persistent scientific uncertainties. This is one of the major outcomes of our recent comprehensive analysis of the fight against, and adaptation to, marine eutrophication across the globe: although social mobilizations against coastal eutrophication tend to stick to emblematic sites, socioenvironmental conflicts directly related to eutrophication symptoms, tend to spread in very diverse hydro-social configurations.
This contribution will i) provide an extensive overview of formerly dispersed works in sustainability, social and political sciences, analyzing multi-scale dynamics of ocean overfertilization trajectory as public problem, and ii) propose a typology of enduring conflicts related to land-based nutrient pollution, building on the concept of hydro-social configuration. It will also emphasize, thanks to case studies in Western Europe and Eastern China, how oceanic ontological features accentuate epistemic tensions when facing global environmental change.

avatar for Nathan Bennett

Nathan Bennett

Research Associate, University of British Columbia

Wednesday June 26, 2019 16:45 - 18:15
REC A1.02 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam