James Acheson Anthropology Of Fishing

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It is important to understand past anthropological study of marine affairs in order to contextualize the progression and evolution of the dominant modes of thinking. Anthropological study of fisheries and fisherman has changed over the past half-century. From the late 1970s until the turn of the century, the focus of writing and observation was mostly centered on overfishing and exploitation of marine resources, limited to the visible effects of human interaction with the ocean (Moore 2012: 673). These studies produced conversations about changing existing legislation to restore or a least prevent further damage to ecosystems and fish populations. Efforts were largely limited to discussion of best practices and management techniques centered…show more content…
This transition is critical to successful implementation of socially conscious marine policy. In “Anthropology of Fishing”, James Acheson claims that past approaches have been accounts of life aboard ships rather than “shore-based studies of fishing communities” (Acheson 1981: 276). He goes on to describe a number of social structures of fishing communities that differ in their regard of resources as individual or communal. Understanding of these structures is valuable to understand how fishermen interact with each other and their environment. Through this understanding, existing policies can be reformed that target harmful group action but allow for the more sustainable small scale fishing. While some of Acheson’s analysis is based on characterizing the personality of fishermen, he makes a valuable point that management of resources would better succeed were policy to incorporate existing elements of social interaction between actors in the society (in this case the fishermen and middlemen acting as vendors). Hilborn too states that policy would be more effective and longer lasting were it to involve fishermen (Hilborn et al. 2003: 388). These two key pieces are elements employed by modern strategies to promote lasting management and conservation of
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