International agencies have contributed significantly to the promotion of capital-intensive fisheries development programs in many Third World nations. Activities of both bilateral and multilateral development assistance agencies are examined and shown to have certain common features, notably production-oriented programs typified by the introduction of powerful new fishing technologies, and the promotion of fishery exports as a means of increasing foreign exchange earnings. The argument is advanced that these programs have been largely detrimental to the best interests of recipient nations because they have ignored both resource limitations and the distributional consequences of such development.
Fisheries development programs in the Third World are seen as being shaped by a convergence of institutional and class interests between national and international agencies. The perspective of political economy is used to examine these interests and explain their relation to policy outcomes. Evidence is presented to show that international agencies have contributed to dualistic patterns of industry growth which have skewed development benefits towards a narrow urban elite. Rural small-scale fishers have been increasingly marginalized as a result of their inability to compete over a limited and, in some cases, depleted resource.
Fisheries development and resource management need to be seen as complementary aspects of a single process rather than as separate activities. Central to fisheries management is the question of resource allocation between competing users. Suggestions are offered by which international development agencies can play an important role in encouraging resource use patterns which are both biologically sustainable and socially just.
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Conner Bailey is an Associate Professor in the Department of Agricultural Economics and Rural Sociology at Auburn University and is currently co-chair of the International Development Research Group of the Rural Sociological Society. He has over nine years experience working in Southeast Asia, primarily on issues of agricultural and fisheries development. Before joining the faculty at Auburn, he worked as a Research Fellow in Marine Policy at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution and as Senior Research Fellow at the International Center for Living Aquatic Resources Management (ICLARM). Among his publications areThe Sociology of Production in Rural Malay Society, published by Oxford University Press in 1983, andIndonesian Marine Capture Fisheries, a 1987 ICLARM publication which he co-authored with two Indonesian colleagues. His primary research interests are in the political economy of development and the sociology of natural resources and the environment.
Preparation of this paper was supported by the Alabama Agricultural Experiment Station at Auburn University and by a program support grant to Auburn University by the United States Agency for International Development. I would like to acknowledge the assistance of Mike Skladany in preparing this paper. The paper has benefitted from constructive critiques made by three external reviewers (David Hansen, Bonnie McCay, and Peter Sinclair) and by my colleagues Rudy Schmittou, Joseph J. Molnar, John Dunkelberger, and Svein Jentoft. Responsibility for accuracy of fact, interpretation and analysis is mine.
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Bailey, C. The political economy of fisheries development in the third world. Agric Hum Values 5, 35–48 (1988). https://doi.org/10.1007/BF02217175