Contested landscapes: third-party certification and the blue economy in West Africa

Ambe-Uva, Terhemba (2020) Contested landscapes: third-party certification and the blue economy in West Africa. Masters thesis, Memorial University of Newfoundland.

[img] [English] PDF - Accepted Version
Available under License - The author retains copyright ownership and moral rights in this thesis. Neither the thesis nor substantial extracts from it may be printed or otherwise reproduced without the author's permission.

Download (663kB)


In recent years, the blue economy has emerged as among the most critical market-based solutions to achieve a ‘triple-win’ for marine resources, climate change, and fisher’s livelihood. Surprisingly, despite the grandiose claims, we continue to know little about how the blue growth strategy can achieve this triple-win. This thesis seeks to address the overarching question: How has third-party certification distributed political and economic power in West Africa’s fisheries, and in turn, how has it been resisted or accepted by fishers? I argue that the blue economy needs certified fisheries and aquaculture. The corporate seafood regime has led to keystone corporations reorganizing the seafood system to increase their profits through certified products, and by using a sustainable narrative trope that rationalizes and perpetuates access and control to West African fisheries resources. The implication is that certification schemes are orienting fisheries for export instead of self-sufficiency. I also argue that marginal actors such as small-scale fishers mobilized exclusion and lack of voice to contest and resist corporate control over the global seafood and reconstruct alternative food systems. I posit that these actors challenge the discourses, knowledge, and evidence that tends to entrench a corporate seafood system. I develop a theoretical framework that highlights how different aspects of the relationship between hegemony and corporate seafood regime interfaces with the everyday political economy to understand the persistence of the blue economy despite its contradictions, and the ensuing frictions of resistance In sum, this thesis addresses a significant gap in the international political economy literature by offering a systematic theoretical and empirical exploration of when a seafood regime becomes hegemonic; and the agency of marginal actors, especially as they negotiate alternative food systems. It thus contributes to seafood regulation and the recent call towards ‘thinking ecologically’ as well as the broader ongoing debates about the alternative food system and environmental justice.

Item Type: Thesis (Masters)
Item ID: 14695
Additional Information: Includes bibliographical references (pages 111-130).
Keywords: Seafood regime, Fisheries certification, Blue economy, West Africa, Everyday International Political Economy, Neo-Gramscian analysis, Resistance and contestation
Department(s): Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of > Political Science
Date: August 2020
Date Type: Submission
Digital Object Identifier (DOI):
Library of Congress Subject Heading: Fisheries--Government policy--Africa, West; Fisheries--Economic aspects--Africa, West.

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item


Downloads per month over the past year

View more statistics