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Title: Informing social objectives in fisheries policy :notions of fisheries 'dependency' and 'community' from Fraserburgh, the outer Hebrides and Shetland
Authors: Ross, Natalie Ann
Issue Date: 2013
Publisher: Newcastle University
Abstract: There is an ongoing argument that the biological priorities of the CFP are not a straightforward solution to the problems facing international fisheries management, and that social objectives need to be incorporated into policy. However, the social arm of fisheries is little understood in a management structure that prioritises scientifically-produced quantitative data over narrative-based evidence concerning the everyday lives of those living and working within the fishing industry. By investigating notions of fisheries ‘dependency’ and ‘community’ - labels that currently pervade fisheries management but that remain poorly understood by decision-makers - with people in coastal fishing communities in Scotland, this research provides important new evidence to inform the social dimensions of fisheries policy. In-depth qualitative data collected through interviews and participant observation in three Scottish case study areas - Fraserburgh, the Outer Hebrides and Shetland - suggest that fisheries ‘dependency’ extends from a family’s income to the importance of fishing identity and heritage, whilst ideas of ‘community’ are complex and multiple. Empathy, created through shared routines of uncertainty and risk, emerges as an important factor in defining and binding people together. So too does the shared experience of living in remote areas, bringing together not only those who work in the fishing industry, but also those in the wider territorial community. The controversies that arise at the interface between the current constitutional set up of fisheries management and the heterogeneous nature of the fishing ‘community’ suggest that understandings of fisheries ‘dependency’ need to take into account the strength of attachment to fishing as a positive identity and the substantial commitment to the sector that people show. Rather than attempting to shift people away from fishing, steps might be taken to support the strong social and business networks linked to the industry, and increase flexibility within fisheries management to accommodate the complexities of the fishing ‘community’.
Description: PhD Thesis
Appears in Collections:School of Agriculture, Food and Rural Development

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