CfP POLLEN22: Mobilising political ecology seeds to advance equity and justice for oceans and people: a conversation between academics and civil society

Session organizers: Mialy Andriamahefazafy (University of Portsmouth) and Marleen Schutter (WorldFish & University of Washington)

Format of event: Indaba session

Keywords: marine, fisheries, blue justice, equity, blue economies, blue regrowth

The oceans are receiving unprecedented attention. Countries are establishing blue economy frameworks, there is Sustainable Development Goal 14 dedicated to the ocean and we are within the UN Decade of Ocean Science for Sustainable Development. Political Ecology (PE) research in the marine space is rich and increasing. From critiques of blue economy (Silver et al. 2015; Schutter and Hicks 2019) and calls for blue degrowth (Ertör and Hadjimichael 2020) to highlighting injustice within marine conservation (Bennett 2019) and fisheries management (Nolan 2019; Andriamahefazafy et al. 2020), academics have increasingly published in the field. It seems however that in practice, PE scholarship is not reaching its full potential yet in terms of influencing national or global policy. In conservation for example, the movement to protect 30% of the ocean by 2030 is mainstream (Ocean Unite 2021) despite critique of similar approaches in the terrestrial field (Survival International 2021). Also, initiatives against mainstream discourses remain low-key (ICCA Consortium 2020; Blue Ventures 2021). Marine protected areas or fishing quota continues to be pushed as key solutions, despite critical research produced on these. Even more alarming is that the words equity and (blue) justice have now been integrated in public discourses by world leaders while injustices on the ground continue. The aim of this session is to discuss how PE insights on power relations, decoloniality and knowledge co-production could better support social movements in the marine realm. The session will present advances in the field followed by an open discussion between academics and practitioners.

We invite abstracts of no more than 250 words that present your current work in political ecology that applies to the marine field or your work as civil society organisation in promoting equity and justice in marine conservation and fisheries management. We are interested in exploring the following questions and related ones:

·         How has political ecology been mobilised so far in marine conservation and fisheries management?

·         What is the progress in advancing equity and justice by social movement?

·         What are the political ecology research needs to advance justice and equity in the marine field?

·         How can political ecology support and contribute to social movements in the marine space?

·         How do we ensure political ecology insights are taken up in practice?

For this panel, we would like a mix of speakers that would include both researchers and civil society representatives to allow a productive discussion. We would also like to promote diversity in terms of geographic origin, gender and race.

If you are interested to join our session, please send a short abstract (250 words) to or by January 21st. We welcome some information on your positionality along with your abstract submission. Authors will be informed shortly thereafter regarding their inclusion in the session proposal due end of January 2022.


Andriamahefazafy, M., M. Bailey, H. Sinan, and C. A. Kull. 2020. The paradox of sustainable tuna fisheries in the Western Indian Ocean: between visions of blue economy and realities of accumulation. Sustainability Science 15 (1):75–89.

Bennett, N. J. 2019. In Political Seas: Engaging with Political Ecology in the Ocean and Coastal Environment. Coastal Management :1–21.

Blue Ventures. 2021. Living with 30×30. Blue Ventures×30/ (last accessed 17 November 2021).

Ertör, I., and M. Hadjimichael. 2020. Editorial: Blue degrowth and the politics of the sea: rethinking the blue economy. Sustainability Science 15 (1):1–10.

ICCA Consortium. 2020. ‘30 by 30’ is a distraction, keep the focus on Indigenous and locally-led holistic ocean stewardship. ICCA Consortium (last accessed 17 November 2021).

Nolan, C. 2019. Power and access issues in Ghana’s coastal fisheries: A political ecology of a closing commodity frontier. Marine Policy 108:103621.

Ocean Unite. 2021. 30 x 30. Ocean Unite (last accessed 17 November 2021).

Schutter, M. S., and C. C. Hicks. 2019. Networking the Blue Economy in Seychelles: pioneers, resistance, and the power of influence. Journal of Political Ecology 26 (1):425–447.

Silver, J. J., N. J. Gray, L. M. Campbell, L. W. Fairbanks, and R. L. Gruby. 2015. Blue Economy and Competing Discourses in International Oceans Governance. The Journal of Environment & Development 24 (2):135–160.

Survival International. 2021. NGO concerns over the proposed 30% target for protected areas and absence of safeguards for Indigenous Peoples and local communities. (last accessed 17 November 2021).

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