"The law in St. John's says..." : space division and resource allocation in the Newfoundland fishing community of Fermeuse

Martin, Kent Oliver (1973) "The law in St. John's says..." : space division and resource allocation in the Newfoundland fishing community of Fermeuse. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

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Abstract

This thesis explores the ecologic and social functions and implications of marine space management as embraced in the Newfoundland Fishery Regulations. -- The Newfoundland Fishery Regulations constitute a particularly interesting body of legislation in that those regulations which apply to the inshore cod fishery were not, in the main, enacted with a view toward husbanding the resource. Rather, they represent a response on the part of government officials to political pressure exerted by inshore fishermen for the legal codification of regulations which allocate access to resources with respect to particular technologies. -- This need to regulate the extractive process is largely a product of the non-random distribution of fish concentrations over the fishing grounds and the varying productive potentials of the technologies used. Those technologies which can operate only under a relatively narrow range of environmental conditions (e.g. trap and handline) are afforded protection from competing technologies (gill net and trawl) by setting aside specific locations and/or areas for the exclusive use of the former. -- Ecologically, the Newfoundland Fishery Regulations function to provide for an equitable division of resources for local fishermen. This division is in turn related to the numbers of fishermen exploiting a given area and the amount of exploitable space available. In an area such as Fermeuse where there are substantial numbers of fishermen and only limited amounts of exploitable space I found relatively stringent restrictions which limited the bulk of exploitative opportunities to those technologies which required the least amount of operating space thereby permitting the maximum density of fishing unit participation. Space consuming technologies such as trawl wherein three or four units could control an area which might be profitably exploited by twenty or thirty handline units are banned from large expanses of the community's fishing grounds. The Newfoundland Fishery Regulations then emerge as a major force in balancing the available space with the number of fishing units. -- In addition, the Regulations function to protect local fishermen from the modernized and highly mobile fishing operations which are becoming increasingly prevalent in Newfoundland waters. -- Sociologically, the Regulations function to minimize social conflict in an intensely competitive fishing milieu where the rewards fall to those who prove to be the shrewdest in getting their share of a scarce commodity (exploitative opportunity). Because the Regulations are codified into formal law (which is external to the community) disputes engendered on the fishing grounds tend to be less personalized. This depersonalizing effect is further reinforced by the presence of a federal fishery officer. His role is particularly important as an enforcer of regulations and as a mediator in disputes, between opposing technological interests. Because the fishery officer is not directly involved in the extractive process he is regarded as impartial and is commonly sought for adjudication in what are often highly emotional confrontations which could degenerate into a personal encounter that might seriously endanger the social fabric of the community.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
URI: http://research.library.mun.ca/id/eprint/4016
Item ID: 4016
Additional Information: Bibliography: leaves 132-137.
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Anthropology
Date: 1973
Date Type: Submission
Geographic Location: Canada--Newfoundland and Labrador--Fermeuse
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fisheries--Newfoundland and Labrador--Fermeuse

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