Fisheries as social struggle: A reinvigorated social science research agenda
Many social scientists in the field of fisheries display a strong concern for the social engineering of environmental sustainability, but also a tendency to identify with the concerns of government. This paper posits that social scientists have their own responsibility in the fisheries field, and that this responsibility includes more attention to the realm of social struggle and distributional justice. Social struggles within and over fisheries are argued to be globally intensifying, as a result of four trends: (1) the condition that inshore fisheries have now largely become a zero sum game; (2) the new sets of controls that are occurring in the fish value chain; (3) the incursion of new business interests into marine and coastal space; and (4) the increasing participation, if not interference, by governments in what used to be mainly fisher affairs. Not only does a reinvigorated social science agenda create attention to other, neglected domains of fisher society; the authors argue that addressing distributional justice concerns may be a precondition for achieving sustainable human-nature relations.