Small-Scale Fisheries Governance : Broadening Perspectives on Markets, Relationships and Benefits in Seafood Trade
Abstract: This licentiate adresses the relative ambiguity surounding benefit flows from small-scale fisheries seafood trade with a specific focus on how they may be impacted by market and social stuctures. Small-scale fishery governenace has previously taken a narrowly approach to sustainability. Focused on managing fishing activities, economic-led market interventions and overlooking the embededness of the fishers within a broader social structure. Also failing to address fisheries as interlinked social-ecological systems where feedbacks between the two can impact future sustainability. The larger PhD project takes a step towards combining these two out-of-focus areas by taking a systems perspective, through a Value Chain approach, to fisheries governance, associated market influences and the consequent benefit flows from marine ecosystem services. This licentiate begins by unpacking dynamics within the social realm that may impact benefit flows and ultimately resource extraction decisions, potentially contributing to feedbacks from the marine ecosystem. Research uses mixed-methods and is case-orientated with sites across two tropical marine small-scale fisheries in Zanzibar and the Philippines. Results present two market environments with distinct structures, conduct, reciprocity systems and notably, gender roles. However both systems experience economic transactions underlain by broader social relations and binds. These various features manifest themselves in different, yet often unexpected, ways through income equalities, distributions and reciprocal networks of fishers and trading actors. Once a broadened and diversified view of the SSF trading environment is appropriated, it is clear that benefit flows are impacted by various contextual features (e.g. gender, transaction forms and buyer types). Governance-related research or interventions should incorporate undervalued local attributes such as cultural characteristics, social relationships and market participation as they play a role in who benefits from seafood trade. Thus If governance is to be improved for sustainably increasing food and livelihood security it is necessary to unpack these benefit flow mechanisms and, in particular, the local social dynamics that mediate fishers’ everyday interplay with the marine ecosystem. Future steps include the aim to identify potential social-ecological feedbacks between the disentangled market environments and the local marine ecosystems as a result of interactions in SSF trade.
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