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Law and lawlessness in industrial fishing: frontiers in regulating labour relations in Asia
Vandergeest, P. (2018). Law and lawlessness in industrial fishing: frontiers in regulating labour relations in Asia. International Social Science Journal 68(229-230): 325-341.
In: International Social Science Journal. Wiley-Blackwell. ISSN 0020-8701; e-ISSN 1468-2451, more
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  • Vandergeest, P.

    The paper examines the extension of state regulation of industrial fisheries to include labour relations in the wake of scandals concerning unfree and abusive working conditions in the fishing industry. The focus is on fisheries operated out of Thailand, supplemented by information about working conditions in fisheries based in Myanmar and Taiwan. A concept of frontier that pays attention to patterns in labour relations prior to intensification of state regulation enables consideration of how non‐state agents including vessel owners and captains, fishing technologies, marine ecologies, vessel mobilities, borders, and workers contribute to shaping working conditions in industrial fishing. This approach reframes current efforts to regulate industrial fisheries as acting not on an unregulated or lawless fisheries, but on a series of dynamic existing practices of involving multiple agents who regulate fisheries work in the relative absence of state regulation. Using this concept of the frontier also helps explain how and why labour relations in fisheries are positioned as exceptional in relation to terrestrial work, and draws attention to the way that state regulation works through owners and captains, often neglecting the agency of workers, or undermining worker agency through migration policies.

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