'Gear Conflicts' and Changing Seascapes in Batanes, Philippines

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2006

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Abstract

"Documents reveal that in recent times some of the most prominent conflicts in fishing on Batan Island (in Batanes, Philippines) stem from interest in new 'driftnet' technology for catching flying fish. On closer investigation, these in essence consist of challenges to the fishing calendar that is traditionally enforced by collectivities of fishers belonging to particular 'ports' or 'vanua'. A vanua denotes a particular landing spot, as well as a port-polity (a group of fishers that is organized, has laws and a leader), and which is ritually assembled at the beginning of the summer fishing season. Seeing 'Vanua-making' as a ritual technology aimed at collective success, what is really at issue in the conflicts between 'traditional' and new or 'modern' technologies are distinct common property regimes and opposed landscapes: a traditional notion of community and a cooperative framework for the commons on the one hand, coming into conflict with a modern view of atomized fishers and an 'open' sea on the other."

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IASC, fisheries, conflict, technology

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