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Between roving and stewarding marine environments: Practices and development of Swedish coastal fisheries in the Baltic Sea
Stockholm University, Faculty of Science, Stockholm Resilience Centre.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-3672-0299
2018 (English)Licentiate thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Whether and how capture fisheries can increase catches and be sustainable at the same time i sa pertinent question for fisheries in the Global North. To ensure sustainable development of these fisheries, it is essential for fisheries management to pay attention to fishers’ behavior. Yet, the academic debate is polarized and features several received wisdoms. On one extreme, fishers are portrayed as “roving bandits”, and on the other extreme, fishers are portrayed as “stewards” of marine environments. In reality, fishers are neither roving bandits nor stewards,but can act as such depending on the circumstances in which they are situated. The aim of this thesis is therefore to contribute to a more nuanced understanding of fishers’ behavior, by focusing on the concept of stewardship, which has in recent years gained significant scholarly attention but requires further empirical and theoretical underpinning. The aim is addressed by the following research question: When and how are fishers in the Global North prevented from acting as stewards of marine environments? To answer this question, the thesis conceptualizes stewardship as the outcome of the interactions between fishers and the social-ecological conditions they live through and within, and applies sociological theory to analyze when and how stewardship is materialized into fishing practices. The thesis uses a mixed-method approach in order to study Swedish coastal fisheries in the Baltic Sea (SCF). The results are presented in two papers. Paper I presents some general features of SCF, discusses diversity in fishing practices, and outlines barriers and opportunities for sustainable development of SCF. Paper II provides an analysis of when and how some coastal fishers have ended up in a situation where they persistently continue to fish a critically endangered species. The results suggest that the fishers lack the motivation and the ability to act on the few existing opportunities for stewardship of marine environments. As a whole, the thesis argues that fishers are reluctant to change their way of organizing their fishing practices and proposes that this might be a general feature within fisheries in the Global North. In summary, the thesis demonstrates how the fishers’ reluctance is a response to certain social-ecological conditions, and from their particular position in these conditions. The thesis further illustrates the advantage of using a mixed-method approach to study interactions between fishers and social-ecological conditions. These interactions and their historical dynamics explain why some fishers act as stewards, others as roving bandits, and the vast majority as probably something in between.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Stockholm Resilience Centre, Stockholm University , 2018. , p. 83
Keywords [en]
Stewardship, fishing practices, sustainable development, coastal fisheries, Baltic Sea, fishers’ behavior
National Category
Environmental Sciences
Research subject
Sustainability Science
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-165545OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-165545DiVA, id: diva2:1284324
Supervisors
Available from: 2019-01-31 Created: 2019-01-31 Last updated: 2019-01-31Bibliographically approved

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Citation style
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