Sustainable Fisheries

Special collection

Worldwide, small-scale coastal fisheries contribute significantly to providing food, employment, and incomes to many very poor people. But these same fisheries, and the ecosystems upon which they rely, are under increasing threat from a combination of climate change, pollution, over-fishing, and the exploitation of resources.

Fisheries management has been a major component in trying to address some of these issues, but with limited global success. The potential of fisheries, if managed well, is considerable but what form that potential will take will depend on how and why fisheries are managed.

This collection of reports and presentations explores just this question, describing some of the challenges faced by small-scale fisheries worldwide and their efforts to address these challenges and improve the health and well-being of the people who are dependent on these threatened environments.

The collection brings together the "grey literature" of the field, valuable work that is not readily available through academic journals and databases but is instead spread across dozens of organizational websites. This set of reports was initially identified as part of a synthesis review of key lessons commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation's Program on Oceans and Fisheries. We are pleased to make it more easily available for others to use and build on and encourage researchers and practitioners to add relevant work to the collection.

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Changing Human Relationships With Nature: Making and Remaking Wilderness Science

January 1, 2000

The paper identifies and discusses two major themes in wilderness social science. First, that wilderness studies (and its advocates) have been limited by an ontological tension between those who mainly approach the relationship between humans and nature on the basis of material factors and constraints and those who approach it through an examination of shifting concepts and ideas. Rather than pitting these against each other, I argue that a dialogue between how nature and humans relation to it has been culturally constructed and physically altered is critically needed. Second, while I commend wilderness and protected-area management strategies for responding to shifting ideas and diverse material conditions by incorporating participatory or community-based approaches, I argue that how and when a community-based approach is workable needs to be answered in the context of particular places, peoples, issues and ecosystems. In general, wilderness social science needs to move beyond simplistic dualistic thinking and binary categories, and continually be willing to address the politics behind how "nature" and what is considered "natural" are defined and deployed on behalf of particular human interests. The paper concludes with a brief discussion of efforts across the globe that seek to utilize multiple conceptual and practical management approaches tailored to particular social contexts and histories.