Abstract: Concern about overfishing and the ecological costs of aquaculture dominate popular and research narratives about the sustainability of marine resources; while the more utilitarian role of fish as a direct provider to poor, vulnerable and food insecure populations is conspicuously undervalued. The social benefits provided by marine resources (e.g., livelihoods, nutrition, well-being) are critical to the welfare of hundreds of millions of people, particularly in developing countries. Through fieldwork on small-scale fisheries, small and commercial-scale aquaculture in Mozambique and Solomon Islands, I will explore the importance and vulnerability of marine resource-based livelihoods. I will argue that the extraordinary diversity of coastal livelihoods necessitates an interdisciplinary approach to marine resource governance, one based on broad participation to help negotiate trade-offs between food and livelihood security, resource conservation, and development goals.
Biography: Jessica grew up in Newfoundland, Canada. She completed a BSc from Memorial University with a focus on juvenile cod behaviour. After spending an influential year living in Malawi and studying tilapia farming, she switched to social sciences and completed a MA from York University in 2009. In 2013, Jessica earned her PhD from the University of Victoria, which investigated small-scale fishers’ resilience and vulnerability in coastal Mozambique. Jessica joined the CoE as a joint postdoctorate research fellow with WorldFish in 2013. She uses social science methods to explore struggles over resources and livelihoods in coastal communities of the Solomon Islands, Vanuatu and Kiribati.