Blue Growth and Ocean Grabbing: A Historical Materialist Perspective on Fisheries in East Africa

Colloquium Paper No. 18
04 February 2016
Paper

The concepts of “accumulation by dispossession” and “ocean grabbing” are applied to East Africa in order to explain the ongoing dispossession of small scale fisheries. The emergence of a corporate (sea) food regime can be traced, posing challenges for terrestrial food sovereignty via land grabbing and ocean grabbing.

This paper introduces the concept of ocean grabbing by first exploring multiple crises of neoliberal capitalism which systematically destroys the environment and creates social inequality. Using the example of fishing, I want to show how capitalist core countries try to circulate their own crises of over - fishing and relocate it geographically into the periphery, which in turn creates piracy and migration flows towards the core countries.

The concepts of “accumulation by dispossession” and “ocean grabbing” are applied to empirical examples in East Africa in order to exemplify the ongoing dispossession of small scale fisheries at lakes, in shore and offshore areas.

The paper concludes that the emergence of a corporate (sea)food regime can be traced and that the challenges for terrestrial food sovereignty via land grabbing are equally relevant for seafood sovereignty and ocean grabbing.

* This paper was published as part of the 2 day Colloquium Global governance/politics, climate justice & agrarian/social justice and selected for republishing on the TNI website. All papers can be found at the website of ISS.