Thursday, June 27 • 10:30 - 12:00
Fish politics national and global

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Chaired by: Mills, E.

Transformations and transdisciplinarity for the sustainability of Mexican fisheries
Maria Jose Espinosa-Romero

Since the Third Convention on the Law of the Sea, most marine fish resources have been entrusted to states to ensure sustainable and equitable use. States thus, have become centrally involved in fisheries governance, and unfortunately have failed at reversing fisheries crisis on their own. New players have been filling management gaps, leading to new paradigms of governance. Theorizing the changing roles of the state across governance modes (hierarchies, co-governance, and self-governance) is necessary and represents the focus of this research. By using Mexican fisheries as a case study and the analysis of the legal framework, state values, state roles, and governance mode transformations are investigated. Results show that environmental values have been at the core of fisheries governance. These values have been combined with developmental and social equality value.. States have become a multi-tasking, ubiquitous, and imperfect agent acting in hybrid governance systems. Hierarchies are becoming stronger, with some levels of coordination and decentralization. Mechanisms for non-state actors participation have been integrated for fishers to influence institution-making, knowledge production, enforcement and surveillance; and for scientists to participate in knowledge production; other sectors have been excluded (e.g., civil society organizations). Self-governed groups support has decreased over time. State roles and governance transformations are due to international pressures, state capacity, and stakeholder readiness to participate in governing functions. States capacity for transforming fisheries governance could be used in a proactive manner to involve non-state actors in overarching goals of fisheries governance such as sustainability and social justice. In that sense, Comunidad y Biodiversidad is using a transdisciplinary approach, the SSF Guidelines and collaboration with community partners for strengthening state capacity to support fisheries governance and such overarching goals.

Global fisheries politics: Key issues, social movements and political events
Elyse N. Mills

This paper proposes a research framework for investigating global fisheries politics in the context of contemporary food systems and climate change, both historically and through emerging interconnections. This framework is particularly interested in the key transnational fishers’ movements engaging in fisheries politics, such as the World Forum of Fisher Peoples (WFFP) and the World Forum of Fish Harvesters and Fish Workers (WFF) – the study of which has become increasingly complex in the context of current global agrarian and environmental transformations. Partly fueled by the global resource rush and the expansion of industrial seafood production, these transformations are characterized by the commodification of nature and capital accumulation in aquatic spaces, the spread of climate change mitigation/adaptation initiatives, and the exclusion of small-scale fishers and dispossession of their access to traditional fishing territories and aquatic resources. For decades, fishers’ movements have been shaping their political agendas and mobilizing around these issues, yet these concerns are becoming more compounded, and subsequently more apparent, by emerging intersections between fisheries and food and climate politics. Thus, this paper proposes the study of fisheries politics via three interconnected themes: the key issues (topics of concern) that are propelling contemporary fisheries politics; the key social movements (transnational alliances) that are engaging with the issues; and the key political events (moments of interaction) where movements are participating. It combines selected political economy and ecology tools, in order to investigate the role of issues, movements and events in shaping fisheries politics, extending existing discussions of food and agrarian politics to include more recent and emerging connections with climate and fisheries politics.

Understanding fish politics: A comparative approach towards explaining policy change in fisheries
Kirill Orach & Maja Schlüter

Sustainable management of fisheries requires adaptive policymaking, however as shown by many cases of fisheries collapses around the world, successfully responding to social-ecological change with policy change and innovations can be challenging. Fisheries are complex and highly dynamic social-ecological systems. Changes in policies that influence managerial activity and resource use also emerge from a dynamic process in which actors and groups with diverse interests and beliefs interact, perceive new information and adapt their behavior. The field of sustainability science through a variety of case studies has highlighted a set of key processes beneficial for adaptive governance – such as collaboration, learning or polycentricity. Research on social-ecological transformations has also produced a great amount of in-depth case studies, that describe and analyze processes of transformative change in fisheries. With presence of rich empirical data, research on transformations and adaptive change in fisheries’ governance calls for generalization and theory-building as well as for explanations that take into account emergent and political nature of these processes. In this manuscript we analyze a series of case studies of policy change and transformations in fisheries social-ecological systems with the aims to: i) indicate key drivers, causal processes and conditions leading to change, ii) synthesize and compare the cases to develop hypotheses about the mechanisms of change and their scope conditions. In our analysis we use published case study research as well as conduct interviews with experts and researchers to supplement our understanding of the political and social-ecological context of change. Based on our comparison we develop a set of causal mechanisms of political change and adaptation in fisheries and propose further steps towards refining and testing the mechanisms with the help of a stylized agent-based model.

Thursday June 27, 2019 10:30 - 12:00
REC A2.08 Roeters Eiland Complex, University of Amsterdam