EASA, 2010: EASA2010: Crisis and imagination

Maynooth, 24/08/2010 – 27/08/2010

(W038)

Imagining fish - nature assemblages under water

Location JHT5
Date and Start Time 25 Aug, 2010 at 11:30

Convenors

Marianne Elisabeth Lien (University of Oslo) email
Gro Ween (University of Oslo) email
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Long Abstract

Oceans and lakes are no longer sites for limitless exploitation. Climate change, pollution, unregulated harvesting, aquaculture, and invasive species are all involved in stories that heighten a sense of crisis, and frame marine resources as entities in need of protection. Within this climate of governance, there is an intensified search for knowledge. Marine and freshwater species are interpreted, counted, surveilled, classified and inscribed in various forms

This panel addresses how we know and engage with fish and other marine species. We explore human-fish ontologies. We ask about fish sentience, and how a sense of the other is mediated across the water surface. We notice that fish are objects and agents as well as symbols and signs, and welcome ethnographies that link stories of the past with ways we re-present the future. We invite the multi-sited, multi-logic and multiple ways in which human-fish relations are assembled, disassembled, practised, governed, politicised and possibly policed.

Chair: Gro B. Ween
Discussant: Marianne E. Lien

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.

Papers

(Post) Political Ecology: Moving towards Consensus

Author: Patrick Bresnihan (Trinity College Dublin)  email
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Long Abstract

Bruno Latour's notion of a 'parliament of all things' seeks to re-frame political ecology as a way of attending to human and non-human agents as equivalents. This new ecological approach does not rest on any a priori claims to social or natural domains: everything is contested and so everything is political. After a long struggle to have the impurity of socio-natural assemblages accepted as the basis for a new political ecology I argue that Latour's 'political' approach is being realised in new strategies of environmental management. However, rather than augmenting the political I suggest that this shift is characterised by a depoliticising of socio-natural assemblages and the fostering of a consensual, post-political situation. My paper will draw on the political theory of Jacques Ranciere and Erik Swyngedouw, and empirical work on the management of the fisheries in Ireland.

Cod ontologies

Author: Anita Maurstad (Tromsø University Museum)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper explores a particular nature-culture relationship, that of cod and humans. It holds that cod can be seen as 'relational materiality', its properties being that of inseparability between object and measuring agencies. It is argued that cod shifts ontology with shifting measuring agencies. Cod to the environmentalist is different from cod to the manager. And cod to the manager shifts ontology whether the manager is Russian or Norwegian. Politics and ontopolitics inform the nature of cod. Likewise, humans that engage with cod are also performed in the processes. The materialization processes at work inform both subjects and objects.

The paper focuses on materialization processes of cods and humans but the perspectives also invites discussions on measuring agencies that give cod voice as well as political and ethical aspects of giving some cods more voice than others.

'Welcome onboard'

Author: Harald Beyer Broch (University of Oslo)  email
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Long Abstract

Neither all fish nor many other marine species are greeted when they break the water's surface at the fishing vessel's side. The fishers are eagerly watching to detect what they are pulling out from the depths of the Sea.

In this presentation major focus is on creative production of knowledge, needed to outsmart the monkfish at deep seafloor locations and frustration (and for some - hope) attached to crabs (Canser pagurus) northward migration. A recurrent question is how do fish resonate or think? How fishermen construct narratives about the life ways of marine animals and their preferred under water habitats is presented and analyzed. The narratives are sometimes contested but all the same influence human animal interaction. Narrative work further establishes and confirms common ideas, informed by marine biological science, fishermen's experiences, creative imagination and hopes. These narratives address topics related to over fishing, species protection, resilience and possible consequences of a global warming for North Atlantic fisheries and the fishermen's local communities.

What about fish feelings? An inquiry about how fish farmers and researchers approach fish welfare

Authors: Patricia Pellegrini (National Museum of Natural History)  email
Mathilde Dupont-Nivet (INRA)  email
Florence Phocas (INRA)  email
Edwige Quilet (INRA)  email
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Long Abstract

There is an increasing concern about farmed fish welfare (EU recommendation, 2006). A range of disciplines are likely to help at identifying efficient criteria to appreciate and ultimately improve welfare. Besides the biological approaches (physiology, ethology, genetics), an anthropological survey focused on the way fish farmers (trout, seabass, sturgeon, for either farming or restocking) appreciate fish feelings to take their welfare into account. The way fish farmers describe the sentience of their animals was compared to that of cattle breeders. It appeared that fish were more difficult to perceive because poorly human-like in their reactions. If farmers can perceive what may be pain or pleasure for a cow or a veal, it is quite impossible to imagine if a fish feels and in which way. We will present the various knowledge and know-how fish-farmers use to better appreciate the fish sentience and compare it to the methods developed by researchers.

Additional co-authors: Patrick PRUNET , Marie-Laure BEGOUT, Aurélien TOCQUEVILLE.

Clever fish? Exploring ongoing conversations with salmon in Tana River, Norway

Author: Gro Ween (University of Oslo)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper considers the nature of salmon as a companion species, constituted in human-salmon relations in the River Tana, the third largest salmon river in the Northern Hemisphere. Here, different kinds of fishermen, compete to attract the salmon. Salmon is a boundary object, displaying different characteristics and forms of agency. The subjectivity and agency of fish and fishermen become together. In these relations, salmon is called on by use of different technologies. Fishing technologies articulate particular trajectories of human fish-relations. Exploring multiple fishing practices engaged in along the River Tana, I consider the cleverness of salmon. I propose that the nature of the fish, as brought about in human-salmon conversations, depends upon the intimacy of the relation, the natureculture salmon is made part of, and finally salmon materiality, whether human interact with salmon singular or salmon plural, as a steam.

Imagining fish and rivers in Aurland, Norway

Authors: Knut G Nustad (University of Oslo)  email
Rune Flikke (University of Oslo)  email
Cato Berg (University of Bergen)  email
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Long Abstract

This paper examines the Aurland River in Western Norway as a diachronic assemblage constituted by a multitude of enacted rivers. In the past, the river was a site of subsistence and engagement with wider economies for the many small farms situated on its banks. Lordly fishermen arriving in the valley from the late 1880s enacted the river as one of the best anadromous brown trout fisheries in the world. The decision to dam and build a hydroelectric power plant on the river in the 1970s, literally changed the course of the river forever. We especially focus on trout as active agents that enter, spawn, and leave these many rivers, but also on the many constellations trout are made part of, as they are released by fishermen to ensure reproduction of desired traits, and crushed to death in turbines. Together these two aspects constitute the human-fish ontologies that we examine.

To kill or not to kill …? Non-consumptive angling in Norwegian rivers and questions of the nature and authenticity of the fish

Author: Hogne Øian (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research)  email
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Long Abstract

Until recently there have been few restrictions in Norwegian rivers and lakes upon killing and eating fish. Partly due to angling tourism, new harvest regulations are nowadays introduced in several water courses, minimizing both the amount and size of the fish one is allowed to kill and eat. This non-consumptive turn in management policies, has brought about a heated discussion among different categories of anglers over the practice of catch-and-release. Within the context of this ongoing debate, it appears that the fish tend to be transform from an animate object to a subject, as ethical, moral and culturally oriented questions arise among some anglers with respect to the nature and authenticity of the fish: Do the fish feel pain, is it acceptable to fish for fun, and what is the difference between a “virgin” fish and a fish that has been captured and released several times before?

This workshop is closed to new paper proposals.