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Creeping Enclosure, Cumulative Effects and the Marine Commons of New Jersey

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Type: Journal Article
Author: Murray, Grant; Johnson, Teresa R.; McCay, Bonnie J.; Danko, Mike; St. Martin, Kevin; Takahashi, Satsuki
Journal: International Journal of the Commons
Volume: 4
Page(s): 367–389
Date: 2010
URI: https://hdl.handle.net/10535/5938
Sector: Fisheries
Social Organization
Region: North America
Subject(s): enclosure
social-ecological systems
resource management
Abstract: "In response to declining fish stocks and increased societal concern, the marine ‘commons’ of New Jersey is no longer freely available to commercial and recreational fisheries. We discuss the concept of ‘creeping’ enclosure in relation to New Jersey’s marine fisheries and suggest that reduced access can be a cumulative process and function of multiple events and processes and need not be the result of a single regulatory moment. Our findings suggest that some of the ‘expected’ effects of enclosure, including loss of flexibility, erosion of community, proletarianization of fishermen, and corporatization of the fishery are visible in fisheries that do not feature explicitly privatized property or access rights. We rely on an oral history approach and the rich detail that emerges from attention to the lived experiences of fish harvesters to provide a framework for understanding the range of cumulative effects that have resulted from this process of creeping enclosure. We conclude with a discussion of how the gradual process of enclosure has affected the flows of information between the bio-physical environment and fish harvesters, managers and scientists by reducing both participation in fisheries and the accumulation of knowledge itself."

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