ANTH7015 - Fishers and Fisheries Anthropology, Aquatic Resources and Development

Term 2


With global demand for fish expected to double in the next 25 years, 75% of the worlds fish stocks already fully exploited or overfished, and much of the fish traded being produced by developing countries, there is a very real possibility of environmental catastrophes affecting millions of people whose livelihoods depend on these stocks. The course begins with an overview of the economic, cultural and nutritional significance of fish from pre-history to the modern day. This is followed by a critical assessment of current thinking and practices in managing and interacting with one of mans most important natural resources argued to be the most globalized product in the world. Western scientific management, with its emphasis on prediction and control is contrasted with alternatives that stress instead adaptation and resilience when dealing with what are often complex, dynamic and, frequently, poorly understood social and ecological systems. An investigation into the livelihoods of fishers, 95% of whom live in developing countries, further develops understanding of these complex human/environment systems. How have such fisher groups, usually small scale artisanal, and frequently characterised by social, political and economic marginalisation adapted to a lifestyle that is both uncertain and risky? What can such practices teach us and can (or should?) such livelihoods be sustained in the context of unprecedented environmental and developmental change. The course focuses on mans interaction with fish and other aquatic resources, but would be relevant to anyone interested in natural resources and the environmental challenges to be faced over the next 50 years.


Taught by: Dr Caroline Garaway
Assessment: 2 hour exam (70%) + 1 x 2000 words essay (20%) + 1 x 1500 words written role play assignment (10%)
Student Contact Hours:
2 hour lecture + 1 hour tutorial per week
Prerequisites: None. Optional course for Anthropology, Human Sciences, Geography and Biology students.
Option Type:
Biological Anthropology

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