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Modernization and marine fisheries policy

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Modernization and marine fisheries policy
  clear need for more quantitative judg- ments about the assimilative capacity of the ocean. Yet, according to M. Waldichuk, the scientific community is losing interest in environmental research even though ‘we are not much further ahead today in understanding many of the problems of marine pollution than we were in 1970’. The numerous and delightfully abbreviated international cooperative research programmes - eg GELTSPAR, GEMSI, MAPMAPP and PRIMA, to name only very few - are possible only if based on well-supported national efforts. On the other hand, as C.S. Russel correctly warns, it is futile to search for the ‘Holy Grail of the scientificaby best answer’, pollution control decisions will necessarily remain political, taken in conditions of considerable uncertainty. Numerous cases mentioned in the book clearly show how human groups use nature for their own ends when attempting to gain compensation for damages or to avert losses to themselves. Science will be used against science in battles over the distribution of values which may take place in the name of ecology. Scientists, lawyers and administrators must be aware of this. uestions For the ecologist this book raises many questions. Is secondary treatment of sewage which results in the discharge of ‘clean albeit chlorinated’ effluent really progress? (In Munich much work is being done on the agricultural use of sewage sludge.) Are the strict controls on the discharge of cadmium rational when the cause of the problem (in the USA at least) remains; namely outdated military regulations about the cadmium plating of all equipment to be stored outdoors? The contributor who praises the now much cleaner Thames seemed unaware that this was achieved by dumping the resulting sludge not very far away into the North Sea; sludge pretty ‘rich in PBCs, for example. On the other hand, is the decision by Los Angeles not to discharge untreated sewage (and much else) into the Pacific to be applauded if the decision was brought about by MARINE POLICY April 983 financial considerations, (the obtaining of federal grants) rather than persuasive ecological evidence about harm done? The major conclusion this reviewer draws from the assembled data and views is that an informed environ- mental ocean lobby (Greenpeace please listen) is as necessary, if not more necesary, than before, but that it must at this stage ask for the acquisition of more knowledge, scientific as well as economic and social, rather than the imposition of more controls. Pollutants extremely harmful on land do not necessarily become biologically active ook r vi ws in the sea, and marine ecological systems not only function very differently from terrestrial ones, but are also capable of putting up with certain types and levels of contamin- ation before ‘flipping’ into something else. ‘We need to be able to measure the change and the point at which the system flips’, argues J.H. Steele, ‘and do it in such a way that we can end up on whichever side we choose’. Sonja Boehmer-Christiansen Institute fiir Wkerrecht Ludwig-MaxImilians- Ur7ivetsiti9 ~unc~en Nothing to lose but their nets MODERNIZATION AND MARINE FISHERIES POLICY edited by John Fi Maiolo and Michael K Orbach Ann Arbor Science Ann Arbor Ml 1982 330 pp f25 One does not need to read more than two pages of this book to realize that, in what it describes as ‘the application of sociological and anthropological per- spectives to the study of marine resources’, the term ‘modernization’ used in the title refers entirely to the social process of change. Modemiz- ation thus encompasses concepts of acculturation, ie the adoption of values and beliefs which, to paraphrase, are relevant when the status of the traditional small-scale fisherman changes because of tec~oio~~ development and when ‘his surplus value is expropriated’ because he is forced to sell his labour to modem fishing capitalists. The analytic frame- work of most of this book is thus clearly established. Eleven papers are included, written mainly by anthropologists, which were given at a Symposium at East Carolina University. Three of these discuss the dynamics of modernization within the framework of class struggle. Where the papers are discussed on the basis of a country study, the geo- graphic and historic perspectives are wide. Three concern Newfoundland, one considers the continuing state of small-scale fisheries in Barbados, another takes ‘a birds-eye view of fisheries development in Scandinavia over the last two centuries’. Another traces the efforts of infrastructure investment on coastal communities in North Carolina since the 18th century. A paper on the Fanti of Ghana, based on out-of-date material (1950) and more recent data which is incomplete and to a large extent inaccurate as regards 1982, attempts to trace the impact of the outboard motor on a traditional fishing economy. Kinship Two papers are of more general interest. One examines the role of kin- ship in fishing occupations and shows that there is a greater potential for social stratification and inequality when fisheries are based on individual entrepreneurship rather than coop- eratives and kinship groups. However, many obstacles (and one or two of them are discussed here) inhibit the success of cooperatives unless, so it is claimed, they are formed around a kinship core. Another paper attacks the standard work by Crutchfield and Pontecorvo on Pacific Salmon claiming it to be inadequate in its ‘conceptualisation of the relationship between labour and 3  capital’ because the cir~mstan~s of fishermen’s dependency on cannery owners leads to the enhanced control of capitalists over surplus value of fishermen ‘which is partially redistrib- uted to captains in order to obtain their compliance in the system’. FCM The final paper describes the adapt- ation of innovations in the lobster fish- ing of Maine in the use of metal traps. However, the Iongest paper is devoted to describing in some detail the oper- ation of the US Fisheries Conservation and Management Act, 1976, (FCMA) based on the authors’ attendance at some of its public council meetings during its first year of existence. The study brings out some of the complex- ities in establishing a forum for discussion among groups with vested interests in fisheries. It seessignificance even in such details as the seating plan, the positioning of microphones, the times of meetings, and the retative vocal abilities of participants, but con- cludes that the structure of FCMA Council is in a state of constant reform- ulation, adaptation and ~Iidi~~tion. The editors of this book, quite rightly, make a plea for a multi- disciplinary approach to fisheries development. There is a lot of confusion over this issue. A multi- disciplinary approach does not give an individual scholar the Iicence to skim supe~ciaily over a number of disciplines, for instance, fish tech- nology, and the biology, politics, economics and sociology of fisheries. It does give the anthropologist a chance to be heard. Unf~~unately very few of the papers here follow the tight intellectual discipline one expects of anthropolo~ists~ There is littleevidence of meticulous, time-consuming data recording at field level. In most developing countries there is not sufficient primary data avaifabte and to produce reliabie info~ation, anthro- poiogists will stifl have to endure the physical hardships (sand flies and prickly heat) and the patient, pain- staking persistence of basic field research I Given the current and urgent need for effective fisheries management 132 policies to prevent an 0verexpIoitation of the resource, anthro~lo~sts may have a unique role to perform in help- ing to prevent the complete destruction of inshore stocks by small-scale fisher- men This role is to study the methods used in traditional communities to control fisheries. In some small-scale fishing communities, a system of fisheries management and control exists, which, for a variety of socio- cuftural reasons, has made it necessary to maintain a system of equity compliant with the ~io~litic~ structure of the society. Many of these traditional methods may have been forgotten, become obsolete, left behind in the institutional change of technical progress, others may have been politically ostracized. But where vestiges still remain (eg among the Fanti although not mentioned in the paper given here) and are relevant to modem small-scale fisheries, they should be sought out and recorded. They may just provide some clues as to how to manage and control the operations of the almost intractable small-scale fisherman. This book ~fo~unately does not give any help in this direction. It is by and large a collection of somewhat superficial studies on fishing communi- ties by scholars of similar political polemic. In the aggregate the message is that social and human factors should be considered at all levels in fisheries planning and management. There needs to be more careful articulation by government of its presumed assump tions and principles, there must be greater ~ommuni~t~on between participants in the industry. While the interpretation of fisheries development in the context of class struggle may have some interest to certain historians and social scientists, it has little practical relevance in the context of rapidly changing and highly competitive fisheries. hat price the law of the sea? THIRD UN tTED NATIONS CONFERENCE ON THE LAW OF THE SEA: DOCUMENTS by Renate PlatziMer This is the first of a projected IO- volume series which will contain the legislative history of the Third United Nations Conference on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS III). Volume I embodies four of the five successive negotiating texts prepared at the Conference (ISNT, RSNT, ICNT and ICNT/Rev. 1 . Presunlably the remain- ing precursors of the new Convention on the Law of the Sea (ICNTlRev. 2 and the Draft Convention on the Law of the Sea) will be published n Volume II or a subsequent volume, together with the Final Act of the Conference. All of the voluminous remainder of the Conference documentation will be published in later volumes and will be ‘arranged according to the content of the Draft Convention’. It is difficult to evaluate the series on the basis of this first volume but one thing is very clear: at 100 per volume. this l@volume series will be very expensive indeed. What, then are the libraries being offered for their money? Judging from Volume I, the series will consist of a straightforward collection of the Conference documentation. arranged under broad subject head- ings, complemented by an index. It is not clear whether subsequent volumes will include documents submitted during the Conference but not published as part of the officiat records of the Conference. As so often is the case with Oceana collections. the standard of reproduction is variable, though never less than serviceable. There is, of course, no doubt that this series will be a very useful MARINE POLICY April 1983
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