By Paula Satizábal, University of Melbourne, and Simon P J Batterbury, Lancaster University.
(c) Photo by Paula Satizábal, small-scale fishers on the Gulf of Tribugá.
Oceans are framed by policy makers and governments as being empty of people and full of resources available for capital accumulation (Bridge 2001). They are portrayed as containers of open access public goods (e.g. the Exclusive Economic Zones prescribed by the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea). These images are used to facilitate the privatisation of fishing grounds and other productive areas, as well as to justify the overexploitation of marine resources, which are generally under very limited state control. People who live near coasts are often excluded from conversations about how marine territory is negotiated.
People living at the intersection of land and sea have not been passive observers of these processes of accumulation by dispossession. Despite an…
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