Digital marine ecologies and the politics of fisheries science

Authors: Lauren Drakopulos*, University of Washington
Topics: Cultural and Political Ecology, Marine and Coastal Resources, Environment
Keywords: Fisheries, STS, Political Ecology, Environmental Big Data, Digital Geography
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/10/2018
Start / End Time: 4:40 PM / 6:20 PM
Room: Bayside B, Sheraton, 4th Floor
Presentation File: No File Uploaded


This research examines the regulation of ‘by-catch’ and the use of electronic video monitoring technology (EVM) in fisheries science and management within the context of the U.S. West Coast commercial groundfish fishery. Bringing together the fields of science and technology studies (STS), digital geography and political ecology I employ the idiom of co-production to excavate the emergence and stabilization of ‘by-catch’ as a scientific and regulatory object in U.S. fisheries and ask how regulating bycatch helps to build and maintain relations of authority within fisheries science and management. Building on this policy analysis, I examine the use of EVM technology as a means for monitoring, managing and mitigating by-catch and the underlying epistemologies of EVM as modernization project in fisheries science. Examining the technocratic shift towards environmental ‘Big Data’ in fisheries dependent data collection through the lens of data colonialism (Thatcher, O’Sullivan, & Mahmoudi, 2016) the study will build on previous research on the commodification of fisheries by extending this to the commodification of fisheries dependent data. Applying the theory of data colonialism to reframe the big data frontiers of fisheries science opens new possibilities for analyzing the emergent technonatures of commercial fisheries.

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