Networks of capital: Reframing knowledge in the Namibian hake fishery

Publication Year:

This paper explores the failures of the quota allocation system in the hake fishery in Walvis Bay, Namibia through an examination of the complex processes that link commodities, labour, production, markets, and knowledge in the industrial setting. The relationships between state regulations and public nature point to a specific engagement in which nature is divided, distributed, and owned, namely through the market driven prospects of transferable quotas. This article examines fishing quota as a set of relations that links the transformation of fish from biological organism to global product and thus weaves science, the state, markets, and social relationships into an entanglement of different forms of capital. In this context, the tension between the quota holder, the value of that quota, and their participation in the industry reflects a complex network of capital mediated through various strategies. Based on ethnographic research in the Namibian trawl sector, this article surfaces these modes of capital in the dynamics of the fishing operations. As such, the fishing industry, the company that holds the fishing rights, the government's role in quota allocations, the vessels, gear, and technologies, and the relationships and roles of the crewmembers and skippers' knowledge all contribute to a particular formulation of fishing practices. Fisher's knowledge in industrial fishing practices becomes a site in which to explore the consequences of ITQs that may also begin to destabilise the neoliberal business model for fisheries in times of crisis. Keywords: ITQs, Namibia, Industrial fishery, fishe's knowledge, Capital, Networks.

Publication Title:

Marine Policy

Item Type:
Journal Article

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