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One Realm: Thinking Geoethically and Guiding Small-Scale Fisheries?

Abstract

This essay explores common features of the ‘FAO Guidelines for small-scale fisheries’ and ‘geoethical thinking’ (geoethics). These two approaches to governability stem from communities/environments that habitually do not interact. Small-scale fisheries are socio-environmental systems heavily pressured by anthropogenic global change. The FAO Guidelines for small-scale fisheries propose how to address this challenge. The concept of geoethics has emerged amongst geoscientists as a way of thinking to understand the societal implications of geoscience professions. When comparing these approaches, they both turn out to be actor-centric and aim to further a path/context-dependent development that respects interests of all actors mutually. Supposedly, such guidance to handle socio-environmental systems may also apply to other communities/environments. To that end, ‘geoethical thinking’ may offer a helpful ‘meta-order’. In turn, geoscientists may like to enrich geoethics from experiences outside their community, e.g. from managing small-scale fisheries.

Résumé

Cet article explore les caractéristiques communes des « lignes directrices de la FAO pour la pêche artisanale » et de la « pensée géoéthique » (géoéthique). Ces deux approches de la gouvernabilité proviennent de communautés/environnements qui habituellement n’interagissent pas. Les pêcheries à petite échelle sont des systèmes socio-environnementaux fortement soumis aux changements mondiaux anthropiques. Les lignes directrices de la FAO pour la pêche artisanale proposent des moyens de relever ce défi. Le concept de la géoéthique a émergé parmi les géoscientifiques comme une façon de penser pour comprendre les implications sociétales des professions géoscientifiques. En comparant les deux approches, elles se révèlent toutes deux centrées sur l’acteur. De plus, toutes deux visent à favoriser un développement relatif au cheminement/au contexte qui veille au respect mutuel des intérêts de tous les acteurs. Il semblerait que de tels conseils pour gérer les systèmes socio-environnementaux puissent également s’appliquer à d’autres communautés/environnements. À cette fin, la « pensée géoéthique » peut offrir un « méta-ordre » utile. À leur tour, les géoscientifiques pourraient aimer enrichir la géoéthique à partir d’expériences en dehors de leur communauté, comme par exemple la gestion de la pêche artisanale.

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Acknowledgements

The author thanks his employer for consent to cooperate with the International Association for Promoting Geoethics (IAPG) and to affiliate with the Ronin Institute. This paper stems from a contribution to the session ‘Small-Scale Fisheries between Tradition and Modernity—Addressing Poverty Alleviation, Food Security and Social Development through the Lens of Human Rights and Dignity’ organized by Dr. C. E. Nauen (Mundus maris asbl) at the EADI Nordic Conference (Norway, Bergen, 20–23 August 2017); she introduced the author to problems of small-scale fisheries. The author thanks the reviewers for their comments and declares no conflicts of interest.

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All views expressed herein are entirely of the author, do not reflect the position of the European Institutions or bodies and do not, in any way engage any of them.

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Correspondence to Martin Bohle.

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Bohle, M. One Realm: Thinking Geoethically and Guiding Small-Scale Fisheries?. Eur J Dev Res 31, 253–270 (2019). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-018-0146-3

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  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.1057/s41287-018-0146-3

Keywords

  • Small-scale fisheries
  • Socio-environmental system
  • Governance
  • Geoethics
  • Actor-centric approach
  • Anthropogenic global change