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  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Almost three thousand islanders live on eighteen islands off the west coast of Ireland. While many of these islands are dependent on a small-scale fishing industry for survival, their fishing communities face challenges in navigating complex fisheries governance systems at local, regional, national and EU scales. Between 2018 and 2020, I engaged with Irish island fishing communities, the fishing industry and the policy environment in interrogating the political and institutional challenges faced by island fishing communities and their initiatives to manage island fisheries on a collective, seasonal basis. This collection of found poems emerged accidentally while I was analysing and writing up the research. As such, they are an unintended contribution to experimental geographies and join the recent resurgence in creative and arts-based work by geographers and social scientists. Created from the interview transcripts of research participants, the poems provide a snapshot of the complexity of the issues at play during the research period. They highlight the multiple storylines that jostle for space and visibility in the fisheries governance context. The mosaic of voices demonstrate that contestation and contradictions exist and play out not just between islanders and non-islanders, but between islanders themselves, often with no resolution. By allowing for a multiplicity of meanings to co-exist, my hope is that this collection of found poems will disturb the fixed narratives amongst those who are engaged in Irish fisheries, challenge the boundaries within which scholarly research is traditionally presented, and render the research accessible to a wide range of audiences.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    This paper contributes to the growing body of literature that engages with ontological scholarship on fisheries management and governance, and more generally, to debates on environmental governance. It argues that fisheries governance is an ontological challenge that raises questions of culture, equity, legitimacy and inclusion/exclusion, requiring more context-sensitive and politically aware fisheries governance approaches. By engaging with the concept of political ontology, and drawing from empirical research carried out in Ireland’s offshore islands, five ontological assumptions are identified that underpin Irish fisheries governance and management policies and practices, and categorised as social-historical, ecological, geographical, technocratic and markets-driven. Articulating and examining these assumptions provides insights into why policy objectives aimed at supporting small-scale fisheries and their communities may, in practice, not be effective when they are operationalised within a governance paradigm designed around the realities of large-scale, full-time, highly mobile and more economically productive operators. Despite the efforts of ontologically disobedient islanders, the enactment of these ontological assumptions into the dominant world of fisheries governance inhibits the emergence of possible worlds that would enact Irish island inshore fisheries through island logics. The paper concludes that the squeeze on Ireland’s island inshore fishers is not simply spatial, it is ontological. The dominant fisheries ontology that has been created by the interplay of ontological assumptions undermines the State’s critical policy to maintain and manage Irish fisheries as a public resource so that opportunities are not concentrated into the hands of large and powerful fishing interests.

  • Open Access English
    Authors: 
    Ruth Brennan;
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    AbstractThis paper contributes to the growing body of literature that engages with ontological scholarship on fisheries management and governance, and more generally, to debates on environmental governance. It argues that fisheries governance is an ontological challenge that raises questions of culture, equity, legitimacy and inclusion/exclusion, requiring more context-sensitive and politically aware fisheries governance approaches. By engaging with the concept of political ontology, and drawing from empirical research carried out in Ireland’s offshore islands, five ontological assumptions are identified that underpin Irish fisheries governance and management policies and practices and categorised as social-historical, ecological, geographical, technocratic and markets-driven. Articulating and examining these assumptions provide insights into why policy objectives aimed at supporting small-scale fisheries and their communities may, in practice, not be effective when they are operationalised within a governance paradigm designed around the realities of large-scale, full-time, highly mobile and more economically productive operators. Despite the efforts of ontologically disobedient islanders, the enactment of these ontological assumptions into the dominant world of fisheries governance inhibits the emergence of possible worlds that would enact Irish island inshore fisheries through island logics. The paper concludes that the squeeze on Ireland’s island inshore fishers is not simply spatial, it is ontological. A dominant fisheries ontology has been created by the interplay of ontological assumptions. This dominant ontology undermines the State’s critical policy to maintain and manage Irish fisheries as a public resource in order to avoid the concentration of fishing opportunities into the hands of large and powerful fishing interests.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Ruth Brennan;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Carrying out qualitative, participatory research at the science-policy-community interface can yield methodological tensions and present challenges for researchers. Sitting within the broader context of a long-running debate around the desirability of scholars’ engagement with the policy environment, the chapter conceptualises three tensions that emerge at the science-policy-community interface, between: process and outcome; engaged research and advocacy; and applied policy research and critical theoretical research. It calls for greater attention to the energy, skills and time it takes to forge the relationships needed to do impactful research and for wider institutional support for policy-engaged academics.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Carrying out qualitative, participatory research at the science-policy-community interface can yield methodological tensions and present challenges for researchers. Sitting within the broader context of a long-running debate around the desirability of scholars’ engagement with the policy environment, the chapter conceptualises three tensions that emerge at the science-policy-community interface, between: process and outcome; engaged research and advocacy; and applied policy research and critical theoretical research. It calls for greater attention to the energy, skills and time it takes to forge the relationships needed to do impactful research and for wider institutional support for policy-engaged academics.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Irish fisheries policy discourse insists that fishing opportunities are a public resource that are managed to ensure that such opportunities are not concentrated into the hands of large fishing interests. Yet, an examination of the ontological assumptions underlying Irish fisheries governance reveals that access to valuable quota-controlled stocks is shaped by historical assumptions that reinforce the worlds or ontological ‘realities’ of larger vessels, while different requirements combine to frustrate the attempts of small-scale vessels to assert a reality that is designed around their differences. Drawing on ethnographic research into small-scale fishing communities in Ireland’s offshore islands, and supported by an emerging theoretical focus on the politics of diverse ontologies, I argue that we need to examine the ontological assumptions underpinning State approaches to fisheries governance to gain a fuller understanding of the on-the-ground implications of the governance arrangements that shape the day-to-day lives of fishing communities in Ireland’s offshore islands. I consider six key ontological assumptions (social-historical, ecological, geographical, technocratic, material and markets-driven) that define these approaches. I focus on two islands-driven fisheries governance initiatives that have challenged these ontological assumptions in their assertion of particular fisheries worlds, and I consider what the State’s response, of retrenchment of the ontological status quo, means for fisheries policy and governance. I conclude that by failing to accommodate diverse ontologies, the State is locked into (re)producing a fisheries seascape that is stifling the exploration of alternative governance possibilities, while privileging institutional arrangements, approaches and practices that do not challenge the ontological status quo.

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Article in the Irish fishing industry magazine,The Skipper, reflecting on Ireland’s National Marine Planning Framework through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2020
    Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Blog post reflecting on Ireland’s National Marine Planning Framework through the lens of the COVID-19 pandemic

  • Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Article in Irish fishing industry magazine, The Skipper, on the gender blindness of the new EU Fisheries Control Regulation

  • Other research product . Other ORP type . 2020
    Open Access
    Authors: 
    Brennan, Ruth;
    Publisher: Zenodo
    Project: EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524), EC | CO-SUSTAIN (789524)

    Interview on my engaged research following the award of a Trinity Research Excellence Award for 2020 in the category 'Engage profoundly with our publics.'

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