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UBC Theses and Dissertations

The rhetoric of co-management in Philipine fisheries De La Peña, Lilian C.

Abstract

This thesis traces the development of fisheries co-management in the Philippines. In the Philippines, the concept of co-management was first brought to the attention of local people by development agencies through their projects on community-based coastal resources management (CBCRM). After the legislation of the Local Government Code in 1991 and the Fisheries Code in 1998, co-management has not only directed the daily operation of local governments units but the daily life of local people, as well. CBCRM projects operated with the implicit aim to educate fishers about the physical environment. They also transferred technical skills to divert activities away from the sea to land (a vision of development highly influenced by scientific claims to reduce fishing efforts). Here lies the paradox. Co-management assumes decisions taken by local people emanate from "local voices," yet CBCRM projects have been working hard under prescribed set of ideas. The academic literature is not different. Students of social institutions surrounding property, for example, are also engaged in the rhetorical use of the concept 'community' to advance the idea of co-management. Based on field research on a fishing island in Central Philippines, this thesis illustrates how economic policies of the government have forced inhabitants to shift from farming to fishing. The result is the current intensification of fishing efforts. This situation directs attention to the possible harm that the combination of Western or science-derived principles and government's power to legislate might bring. Issues raised are discussed in light of emerging perspective from students of indigenous knowledge.

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