The University of Arizona

The Last Northern Cod

Thomas R. McGuire


Abstract: Social scientists in Atlantic Canada developed an incisive political economy of the region’s fisheries in the 1970s and 1980s and forged a sharp critique of Canadian fisheries policies. Meanwhile, fisheries scientists generated a series of stock assessments which substantially overestimated cod populations. After the collapse of the stocks in 1992, a number of reflective postmortems have addressed the role of the social and natural sciences in this resource failure. The present paper will attempt to construct a “political ecology” of the crisis from this corpus, one which does not, a priori, privilege industrial capitalism over cod ecology.

Key Words: fisheries, cultural ecology, political economy, technology, Atlantic Canada, cod.

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