Fishing the future: work and resistance in Portuguese fisheries
EASA Conference | Panel Sea Economies: Labour, Infrastructure and New Techno-Environmental
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In Portugal despite the maritime vocation rhetoric which claims for a “new blue economy”, fisheries are in decline and are only evoked as a traditional feature, with touristic purposes. The national policies and regulations, integrated into a Common Fishery Policy, are introducing structural changes. Besides, with the growing tourist industry, there is a dispute over seashore territories. This is echoes of the wider context that offers different challenges for fisheries, related to the consequences of degradation of resources and market-based management. There is tension between regulations and fishers' perceptions and practices, due to the feeling that policies only focus on resource preservation which limits the fishers' work and puts them in the hands of the market. Facing multi-scale changes, which have social impacts, fishers have difficulty envisioning the future of their activity and, consequently, they don’t incentive their children to pursue this job. The idea of Portuguese fisheries decay is historical although it is gaining other meanings and used as an instrument to evidence problems. In daily lives communities do resist by not recognizing the legitimacy of those who set the rules, breaking them or adapting their work to face new challenges. Based on ethnographic research in two Portuguese fishing communities (Setúbal e Olhão) this paper will focus on how fishers see and engage with fisheries regulations and with the State entities and in what way that affects directly their work and their perspectives of the future.