Examining the ‘cultural sustainability’ of two different ways of governing fishing practices
Research has suggested there is a need for an increased attention to the socio-cultural lifeworlds of fishers and fisheries and its importance for fisheries management. An emerging response to this call has been to examine the social and cultural contexts of ‘good fishing’ – an idea which, drawing on the work of Pierre Bourdieu, has sought to move the discussion beyond simply the economic aspects of fishing to also understand the importance of other forms of capital. Utilising these concepts together with the conceptual idea of ‘knowledge cultures’, the following paper examines the ‘cultural sustainability’ of different ways of governing fishing practices – in particular Marine Conservation Zones and voluntary lobster v-notching using a case study approach to the small-scale fishery of Llŷn peninsula, North Wales (UK). The paper observes that those approaches that allow fishers to demonstrate skills and recognises the temporal contingency of fishing lives can be considered more culturally sustainable than others. This paper also notes that culturally acceptable changes to fishing practices can be supported by fishing regulations and, the paper suggests, such innovations are more likely to be taken up by fishers in their everyday fishing practices. The paper recommends that policies seeking to alter fishing practices consider: i) the importance fishers’ hold in demonstrating their skills; ii) how social relations are as important as economic aspects to fishers’ long-term uptake of new practices; and iii) how the past and the future (such as if a successor is present) holds significance for fishers’ actions in the present.