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date: 06 April 2020


This is an advance summary of a forthcoming article in the Oxford Research Encyclopedia of Anthropology. Please check back later for the full article.

The anthropology of fisheries is a core focus of maritime anthropology. Scholarship in this field is multifaceted, exploring fishing ways of life, fishing knowledge, marine tenure and economies, and the specificities of how this particular watery nature is manifested in social relations and cultural systems. Fishing can be defined as a productive activity that takes place in a multidimensional space, depending more on natural or wild processes than manufactured processes. The idea of fishing being closer to nature is an analytical thread, giving the anthropology of fisheries a particular edge on the multispecies and more–than-human ethnographic turn in contemporary anthropology. Research in the anthropology of fisheries has long held the connections between fisher and fish to be of central concern. Also significant is the thesis that the construction of fisheries as a natural domain to be managed, of which fishers are atomistic extractors, is a highly politicized process involving the bioeconomic creation of fish stock and broader political economies.