Coastal transitions: Small-scale fisheries, livelihoods, and maritime zone developments in Southeast Asia

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Journal of Rural Studies


Across Southeast Asia, coastal livelihoods are becoming more diverse and more commodified, as maritime zone developments intensify. We review literature from the ten maritime states in Southeast Asia to assess how older and emerging forms of maritime zone developments influence the viability of small-scale fishing livelihoods. Applying a political economy lens to small-scale fisheries and maritime zone developments at regional scale, we show how small-scale fisheries persist as a significant coastal livelihood activity across the region, despite declining opportunities due to long-term intensification of fisheries exploitation. The paper further analyses the ways in which newer maritime zone developments, including aquaculture, land reclamation, special industrial zones, and tourism interact with fishing, and are reconfiguring coastal livelihoods in the region. Key trends that small-scale fishers and coastal communities must negotiate include deepening commodification, worsening environmental degradation, loss of access to fishing grounds, and an intensifying ‘squeeze’ on coastal space.

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Australian Research Council



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