Fishing For Survival in the ‘Blue Economy’
Found Poems From The Irish Islands
Keywords:Small-scale fisheries, environmental governance, islands, political ecology, found poems, ecopoetry
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.
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