Globalization: Effects on Fisheries Resources

Globalization: Effects on Fisheries Resources

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Cambridge University Press


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Globalization: Effects on Fisheries Resources

Globalization is a multidimensional issue, and its impacts on world resources cross and integrate environmental, economic, political and cultural boundaries. Over the last few decades, the push towards globalization has brought a new dimension in which managers of fisheries and water resources will need to operate, both at the local and global level of governance. In order to effectively address the future sustainability of these resources, it is critical to understand the driving factors of globalization and their effect on fisheries ecosystems and the people who depend on these resources for their cultural and societal well-being. This 2007 book discusses the social and political changes affecting fisheries, the changes to ecological processes due to direct and indirect impacts of globalization, the changing nature of the goods and services that fisheries ecosystems are able to provide, and the resultant changes in markets and economic assessment of our fishery resources.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780521875936
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Publication date: 11/12/2007
Pages: 574
Product dimensions: 5.98(w) x 8.98(h) x 1.30(d)

About the Author

William W. Taylor is professor and chairperson in the Department of Fisheries and Wildlife at Michigan State University.

Michael G. Schechter is professor and chairperson in the department of International Relations at Michigan State University.

Lois G. Wolfson is a specialist at the Institute of Water Research at Michigan State University.

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Globalization: Effects on Fisheries Resources

Cambridge University Press
9780521875936 - Globalization - Effects on Fisheries Resources - Edited by William W. Taylor, Michael G. Schechter and Lois G. Wolfson

Globalization and fisheries – a necessarily interdisciplinary inquiry

Solutions to the key problems of the twenty-first century require interdisciplinary inquiry. Globalization’s impact on fisheries, including overfishing, is no exception. This conviction is the foundation for the American Fisheries Society symposium on globalization and fisheries out of which this book arose. Though the language of globalization has rarely been used by fisheries scholars or practitioners, this unique volume readily provides evidence that they had the empirical data and could write detailed case studies about globalization that are almost entirely lacking in the current volumes on that subject being published by social scientists. Moreover, as Folland and Schechter’s chapter on global governance suggests many of the key concepts in that field were also preshadowed by works by fisheries scholars, but in materials rarely consulted by social scientists.

In this introductory chapter, we will introduce the concept of globalization and also begin to show how the study of fisheries in this volume can provide insights into many of the key questions animating globalization studies today, such as: Is globalization really anything new? What are thedrivers of globalization? What role has the technology revolution played in accelerating the current era of globalization? What are the consequences of globalization, including who benefits and who loses from globalization? What roles do various international actors (e.g., states, intergovernmental organizations, non-governmental organizations) play in the governance of globalization in general and the management of fisheries more specifically? Why do scholars study globalization in general and the relationship between globalization and fisheries in particular?


Over the past several years, “globalization” has gone from international economics and business jargon to a worldwide buzzword.1 Still, the definition and the concept of globalization are nothing if not amorphous and contentious. There are nearly as many definitions of globalization as there are authors who discuss globalization. In fact, a number of scholars have urged us to think in terms of globalizations (plural) rather than globalization: “The move from the singular to the plural is deliberate and implies deep skepticism of the idea that there can ever be a single theory or interpretation of globalization.” This call has been made in the hope of widening “the debate on globalization beyond the definition of the processes as simply economic, or even worse, as about ‘free trade’ and liberalization” (Gills 2004). By 2007, the scope of globalization studies has been broadened. That is, though some books are still written from a single disciplinary perspective – particularly economics – there is widespread understanding that globalization refers to complex multidimensional processes. However, it is also true that most authors still privilege one disciplinary angle or another, treating “its debates as authoritative without awareness or acknowledgement of their partial status” (Pieterse 2004:15). Although many of the chapters in this volume demonstrate this proclivity as well, it is largely ameliorated by the diverse disciplinary backgrounds and professional experiences of the authors. Still, one must take care to decipher how each author thinks about globalization. Though it is true that there is no consensual definition of globalization (Pieterse 2004), and, indeed, that it is probably best to think of globalization as multifaceted and constantly in flux, there are several clear common threads in thinking about globalization. These are present in Held and McGrew’s definition:

Simply put, globalization denotes the expanding scale, growing magnitude, speeding up and deepening impact of interregional flows and patterns of social interaction. It refers to a shift or transformation in the scale of human social organization that links regions and continents. (Held and McGrew 2000)

Globalization has reduced the importance of distance through increased communication and transportation technology, while giving disparate peoples reasons to connect with one another to solve common problems and engage in trade. The deepening of interregional flows and the thickening of networks also suggests that people in different places are now more important and more linked to one another than ever before. These increased linkages are amply demonstrated in the governance of common fisheries resources as discussed by Folland and Schechter (Chapter 13) in this volume, who use the Great Lakes as their prime example.


A recurring question in the globalization literature is whether globalization is a new phenomenon or whether it is a consistently evolving process. If globalization is thought of, very generally, as interconnectedness driven most especially by trade and technology, then the world has, with a few exceptions, been getting more globalized for several hundred years. As technology has progressed, the world has been perceived as getting progressively smaller. The world known to Columbus was very large indeed; the “discovery” of a new world indicated that what was not known was at least as important as what was known. The advent of locomotives substantially shortened travel times throughout the world; airplanes did the same. Indeed, until the outbreak of the world wars, global capital flows consistently increased as technology made communication and transportation easier. After World War II, the value of trade again increased dramatically, along with the well-known explosion in international collaboration, intergovernmental organizations such as the United Nations and the European Union, and increased flows of people and ideas (Murphy 1994). Thus, though globalization is surely not a wholly new phenomenon (even if the term is relatively new), it is clear that the post-World War II era, the present era of globalization (what Pieterse refers to as “contemporary accelerated globalization”), differs from previous eras of globalization (including that prior to World War I) in several respects (Pieterse 2004:16).

First, the scope and speed of globalization have advanced so much. The speed of communication, for example, has consistently been growing for years. The days of messages sent by horseback faded to memory with the development of the telegraph and then the telephone. In the current age of globalization, communication has become so fast and so inexpensive as to provide no practical barriers to the exchange of information. Even 25 years ago, intercontinental phone calls could be a substantial business expense; such communication is available for pennies today. At present, even the land telephone is becoming obsolete because the Internet has created the ability to send full-motion video and sound instantaneously.

Second, trade in goods has also increased remarkably; it now makes solid economic sense for Volkswagen to make cars in Venezuela and for Nike to make shoes in Vietnam rather than to make them locally (Enloe 2000). Transport costs have become so low as to make production of goods almost exclusively a question of inputs (labor and raw material). International trade has grown substantially. In 1900, foreign exchange trading was measured in the millions of dollars, according to the Bank for International Settlements; in 1998, trade equaled $650 billion per day, and by 2004, trade was at $1.8 trillion per day. Of course, there are still limits. Transport costs will always be higher between Kansas City and Singapore than between Kansas City and St. Louis. In addition, capital flows will likely never be completely open, as Adam Smith lamented hundreds of years ago: politicians, responding to domestic pressures, will never allow it. The continuing need for the World Trade Organization (WTO) to arbitrate disputes suggests that many economies, even the largest, try to cheat the free trade system for domestic economic and political reasons. Shaffer details one of the most contentious cases, the United States shrimp–turtle case in which the WTO found that the United States applied its ban on shrimp imports discriminatorily; it had provided countries in the Western Hemisphere – mainly the Caribbean – technical and financial assistance and longer transition periods for their fishers to start using turtle excluder devices than it had granted for those in the four Asian countries (India, Malaysia, Pakistan, and Thailand) that had filed the complaint with the WTO (Shaffer 2005). On balance, however, markets and capital flows are significantly more open today to the point that a restriction on trade is seen as the exception and is likely to be defeated by the WTO.

Third, it has been argued that the new (1980s on) era of globalization differs because it involves a much greater magnitude of people and states. Hobsbawm (1975:50) details the extraordinary increase in trade volume from 1840 to 1975 and concludes that “the value of exchanges between the most industrialized economy and the most remote or backward regions of the world had increased sixfold.” The Silk Road once connected two distant powers (Rome and China); today the financial centers of the world are connected not just to other financial centers but to markets throughout the world (Germain 1997). The current phase of globalization provides the opportunity for previously closed and economically less privileged societies to realize significant gains by opening themselves to global markets, but, as will be discussed later, it also raises questions about social justice.

Finally, globalization today is different because of the scope of sameness and standardization that has accompanied the current round of globalization. Hobsbawm writes, “There is a substantial difference between the process as we experience it today and that in the previous century. What is most striking about it in the later twentieth century is an international standardization which goes far beyond the purely economic and technological” (Hobsbawm 1975:65). This standardization closely follows several of the key drivers and dimensions of globalization that will later be discussed. The rising international norm toward a free market has converted all but the staunchest holdouts of closed or controlled economies. Technology now spreads quickly around the world, even in states with populations that have very limited access to communication lines, such as China. Global ethical norms, such as a ban on landmines, spread quickly through an environment in which non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and grassroots activists can use inexpensive and rapid communications technology to coordinate their strategies to put great pressure on government leaders. Similar impacts are being made by intergovernmental organizations, such as the International Standardization Organization (ISO), which promulgates a wide variety of global standards; the World Intellectual Property Organization (WIPO), which works to standardize norms relating to intellectual property; and the International Whaling Commission, which seeks to conserve whale stocks.

The current age of globalization has also made it possible to share cultural traditions and practices, an opportunity taken up by many around the world. Though it would be premature to say that the world is becoming homogeneous, the rate of international music, film, and culture exchange is certainly increasing. One must only consider the worldwide popularity of Coca Cola and Pepsi Cola or the wide availability of ethnic cuisine around the world to understand that trends and fashions are becoming globalized and “glocalized” along with trade.2

For both fisheries practitioners and managers, the current globalization era is also a new process or, at least, has taken a new form as a consequence of its acceleration. Fisheries management concerns reflect that, indeed, the world is becoming both smaller and more interconnected. The increased prevalence of long-distance fleets from developing states (see Alder and Watson, Chapter 2) and the dangers associated with the introduction of foreign species (see Holeck, Mills, and MacIsaac, Chapter 6) demonstrate that, in the current round of globalization, even a once localized activity has become global in nature.3 One is no longer tied to fishing grounds located near or around a port; increased refrigeration, ship-based freezing and processing technology enable long-distance catches to travel globally. The establishment of exclusive economic zones has done little to limit the use of local fisheries resources by distant countries, as developing states often felt compelled to sell their local fishing rights to distant fleets in return for hard currency (Alder and Watson, Chapter 2). Globalization in fisheries resources is indeed new in the sense of globalization’s greater influence on fisheries stock and consequently requires new governance approaches and policy solutions.


The increasing interconnectedness of the world can hardly be disputed. Even today, at the height of global connectedness, new projects for political integration and economic development are being created and implemented at a fantastic pace. Two questions of interest that aid in our understanding of the globalization process are: what factors drove globalization in the past, and what factors will cause globalization to continue to be a pressing policy issue for the foreseeable future?

The simplest response to these questions is the first driver we will discuss, economic integration. Globalization has long been thought to have been driven by the will to acquire new markets and gain access to new resources. Current multinational corporations are only contemporary versions of global actors such as the Dutch East India Company. However, today’s much more numerous and globally dispersed multinational corporations have the benefit of the actions taken by the Bretton Woods institutions (the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund [IMF]) and, perhaps especially, the General Agreements on Tariffs and Trade (GATT).

In 1944, the leaders of the allied powers met at Bretton Woods, New Hampshire, to discuss the makeup of the global economic system. They saw as a causal agent of World War II the inward economic turn of many of the most powerful states, that is, neo-mercantilist policies often referred to as “beggar-thy-neighbor” policies. Meeting toward the end of that war, the leaders believed they had a rare and valuable opportunity to recreate international economic procedures as they saw fit. Believing in the chance for an economic perpetual peace, the leaders sought to make states dependent on one another to the extent that international organizations could accomplish such a lofty goal. Economic globalization, though likely inevitable, was greatly facilitated by leaders who held economic integration as a political good. They strongly believed that economic connectivity demanded economic openness. Thus states would be required to leave behind antiquated notions of mercantilism and embrace the free exchange of products, material, and capital. A principal means of accomplishing this goal was the development in 1947 of the GATT, a treaty system creating formal rules stipulating increased openness in trade relations and a relaxation of formal trade barriers, especially tariffs. The GATT was adopted after the U.S. government rejected the proposed third Bretton Woods institution, the International Trade Organization. Under the GATT, members would allow third-party arbitration to resolve formal disputes among the signatory states. GATT proved to be a success. Along with the Bretton Woods institutions, it substantially pressured states to relax protections and lower trade barriers. In 1995, GATT was subsumed under the WTO. The WTO has a permanent secretariat, formal identity as an organization, and a quicker and more binding system of arbitration than had the GATT (Shaffer 2005). Although the WTO has been widely credited with contributing to substantial increases in gains from trade, it has been criticized for allowing subsidies, including those in fisheries, to exist in the developed world and distort the real cost of doing business. For example, Vincent, Marsden, and Sumaila (Chapter 7) argue that if the real cost of harvesting sea horses were to become apparent, the quantity taken would decrease substantially.4 And Alder and Watson (Chapter 2) contend that the majority of governments of the developing world have, partly under pressure from the international financial institutions, opened their markets completely, surrendering fishing rights for a fraction of their market worth. Moreover, Seares, Smith, Anderson, and Pringle (Chapter 3) contend that much opposition to the WTO comes from those in the environmental movement who are suspicious of its potential for punishing states that seek greater environmental considerations – e.g., for allegedly favoring free trade and open markets over ecological concerns.

Consequently, the impacts of economically driven globalization on fisheries are manyfold, including pressure on the growth of the fish market from a local to a more global consumer base. In previous eras of globalization, goods from distant lands were seen as extravagant; today, middle classes around the world have included high-value fish such as salmon in their diets. Additionally, the increase in the number of supermarkets worldwide has created a demand for a stable fish source of constant quality for consumption by an audience that is unfamiliar with the inconsistencies of shopping in an open fish market (Knudson and Peterson, Chapter 18). These modifications in the way that people think about and shop for fish suggest that worldwide demand for fish will be met through greater use of distant fisheries and aquaculture. In this book, Naylor, Eagle, and Smith (Chapter 10) demonstrate the ways that developments in Europe and Asia in the evolution of aquaculture and increased standardization have adversely affected the market in wild Alaskan salmon fisheries. Moreover, Vincent, Marsden, and Sumaila (Chapter 7) demonstrate that, as cultures (in this case, Chinese) expand globally, their particular cultural needs go with them – for example, greatly expanding global demand for sea horses for medicinal use.

Globalization would be impossible without the development and spread of technology, the second major driver that we will discuss. It’s clear that the previous rounds of globalization were greatly aided (or even caused) by advances in technology, whether it be the steam engine or the telegraph. Today, quick airplane travel, satellite-based communications, and the Internet have revolutionized the ways in which huge numbers of people conduct their lives. Technology has largely made possible the interconnectedness of economy, culture, and ideas. The most essential technological development has likely been the development of the Internet, which has allowed for the unprecedented pace of current communication; large data sets can now be sent easily across oceans or continents. Likewise, those seeking technical assistance can now acquire considerable knowledge virtually. Of course, the speed of traditional transportation continues to increase, but the speed of communications and computing technologies has increased exponentially.

Technology has been as crucial to fisheries resources as it has been to other areas of globalization. Technology has produced distant fleets, armed with fishing technology (e.g., drift nets), that have been recognized as having potentially negative consequences for fisheries resources. Conversely, Taylor, Leonard, Kratzer, Goddard, and Stewart (Chapter 1) suggest that technological development has greatly aided monitoring by fisheries managers. Additionally, the development of technologies such as turtle excluder devices provides a check on some of the most wasteful and destructive fishing practices. Technology, along with the globalization of demand, is the source of both problems for fisheries stocks and solutions to those problems.

A third major driver of globalization, resulting from the growing interconnectedness of peoples, is more perceptual or ideational, resulting in a greater awareness of truly global problems: Barbara Ward’s “Spaceship Earth” phenomenon (Ward 1966). These problems include humanitarian tragedy, international health problems such as AIDS, overfishing, the threat of nuclear holocaust, and the problem of environmental destruction and conservation. One hundred years ago, industrial development was seen as a symbol of strength and economic vitality. Today, building a new factory is just as likely to elicit a negative reaction from environmentalists and locals who insist “not in my backyard.” As scientists grew more aware of the problems that industrial development poses to the environment, it became clear that environmental damage crossed all borders. Still, creating global norms and, even more so, binding universal treaties for environmental protection has posed an incredible challenge. Countries that had strong environmental protections were bound to lose out economically to states that had fewer protections, at least in the near term. Even states with few restrictions had a powerful incentive to maintain or to lower their protections to stay competitive with neighbors doing the same thing, the classic “race to the bottom.” Efforts to stave off the environmental problems of habitat destruction and loss of vertebrate biodiversity have followed a similar global course in the development of international treaties such as the Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species (CITES) (Vincent, Marsden, and Sumaila, Chapter 7). Though CITES has had more success than many other environmental treaties, including Kyoto, its provisions are a constant source of tension as states try to decrease protections on native species while shifting the burden of protection to others.

Such problems have been at the core of energizing an additional driver of globalization: global civil society. Among the most prominent organized global civil society actors are NGOs, which draw their membership from around the world and push hard at all levels of government for change, including ways to increase the benefits and decrease the negative consequences of globalization. Moreover, NGOs are proving to be one of the central organizing features of the new era of global governance – for example, they monitor and publicize the (more frequently negative) impacts of globalization. It would be premature to stipulate that globalization indicates a turn toward global government, but it does indicate a turn toward global governance. Different situations involve and, indeed, seem to require the participation of different actors and stakeholders. Folland and Schechter (Chapter 13) demonstrate the ways in which NGOs have long been influential in governance of the Great Lakes and demonstrate how NGOs can be especially successful at “agenda setting.” One of the consequences of the increased governance role of non-state actors, including NGOs and multinational corporations, is a debate over the most efficient and democratic level of governance. In this context, Folland and Schechter discuss the concept of subsidiarity as it applies to fisheries – that is, the belief that decisions are best made at the lowest (closest to the people) possible level of governance.

© Cambridge University Press

Table of Contents

Foreword Jianguo Liu; Preface; Acknowledgments; Introduction: Globalization and fisheries: a necessarily interdisciplinary inquiry John Rood and Michael Schechter; Part I. Impacts of Globalization on Fisheries and Aquatic Habitats: 1. Globalization: implications for fish, fisheries and their management William W. Taylor, Nancy J. Leonard, Jud F. Kratzer, Chris Goddard and Patricia Stewart; 2. Fisheries globalization: fair trade or piracy Jackie Alder and Reg Watson; 3. Effects of globalization on freshwater systems and strategies for conservation Jessica Seares, Katherine Smith, Elizabeth Anderson and Catherine Pringle; 4. Globalization effects on water quality: monitoring the impact on and control of waterborne disease Joan Rose and Stephanie Molloy; 5. Health challenges to aquatic animals in the globalization era Mohamed Faisal; 6. Globalization, biological invasions, and ecosystem changes in North America's Great Lakes Kristen Holeck, Edward Mills and Hugh J. MacIsaac; Part II. Case Studies of Globalization and Fisheries Resources: 7. Possible contributions of globalization in creating and addressing seahorse conservation problems Amanda C. J. Vincent, A. D. Marsden and U. R. Sumaila; 8. Wronging rights and righting wrongs: some lessons on community viability from the colonial era in the Pacific Kenneth Ruddle; 9. Cooperation and conflict between large and small-scale fisheries: a Southeast Asian example Richard Pollnac; 10. Response of Alaskan fishermen to aquaculture and the salmon crisis Rosamond Naylor, Josh Eagle and Whitney Smith; 11. Tilapia: a fish with global reach Joseph J. Molnar and William H. Daniels; 12. The influence of globalization on the sustainability of North Pacific salmon fisheries William Taylor and Nancy Leonard; Part III. Governance and Multilevel Management Systems: 13. Great Lakes fisheries as a bellwether of global governance Michael Schechter and Grant Folland; 14. Ecosystem-based insights on Northwest Atlantic fisheries in an age of globalization Dean Bavington and James Kay; 15. Fishy food laws P. Vincent Hegarty; Part IV. Ethical, Economic and Policy Implications: 16. The intersection of global trade, social networks, and fisheries Kenneth A. Frank, Katrina Mueller, Ann Krause, William Taylor and Nancy Leonard; 17. Fishing for consumers: market driven factors affecting the sustainability of the fish and seafood supply chain H. Christopher Peterson and Karl Fronc; 18. Globalization and worth of fishery resources in an integrated market based system William Knudson and H. Christopher Peterson; 19. Can transgenic fish save fisheries? Rebecca Bratspie; 20. Contributing to fisheries sustainability through the adoption of a broader ethical approach Tracy Dobson and Henry Regier; Part V. Conclusions and Recommendations: 21. Globalization and fisheries: recommendations for policy and management Tracy L. Kolb and William W. Taylor; Index.

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