Publication Detail

Creating a Place for "Community" in New England Fisheries

Kevin St. Martin, Madeleine Hall-Arber
9 pp.
MITSG 08-06J

Although the Sustainable Fisheries Act that amended the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act in 1996 defined fishing communities to be places with significant harvesting and/or processing activities, a collaborative mapping project in the Northeast has made clear the limits of such a port-based definition by documenting the presence and nature of communities “at sea.” Using vessel trip report data, unique maps depicting community territories were created for a variety of communities dependent upon Gulf of Maine fisheries. Community-based researchers interviewed fishermen from the region and asked them to engage
with the maps, discuss the nature of community within those “at sea” locations, and document the type of local environmental knowledge they maintained.
The participatory interviews made clear the varied ways that communities respond to and are changed by the recent history of regulatory and environmental change. While the dominant port-based vision of fishing communities sees communities as sites of impact and decline, a focus on relationships between fishermen and between fishermen and their environments reveals communities as ongoing and emerging processes. While the former produces doubt relative to the development of any community-based initiatives for fisheries management, the latter points to the resilience of “community” and the always-emerging potential for community-based approaches.

type: Journal, book, proceeding reprints

Parent Project

Project No.: 2007-A/A-3
Title: Center for Marine Social Services (CMSS)

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