Kristin Novak

Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2008

Capstone Advisor

Thomas Perreault

Honors Reader

Robert Wilson

Capstone Major


Capstone College

Arts and Science

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories

Social Sciences

Subject Categories

Geography | Nature and Society Relations | Physical and Environmental Geography


This thesis focuses on the depletion of marine fisheries, as a resource, from a geographical perspective. The decline and collapse of abundant fisheries worldwide has serious, though largely unaddressed, social implications, and should be considered as an issue of environmental justice. I analyze the processes that have lead to fisheries collapses all over the world, as well as the governance structures, management strategies, and political and economic forces involved. This is examined through two case studies: one, the collapse of cod stocks in Newfoundland and New England in the 1990s after centuries of intensive fishing, and two, the currently stressed and declining fisheries of West Africa. In each case I discuss the social and economic consequences of this environmental problem and the idea that each of these fisheries is as much about people as much as it is about fish. The final chapter looks at the parallels between these two cases (especially in the processes involved) and the important differences (specifically the very different social impacts). I conclude with a discussion of the policy implications of my analysis, including a call for greater consumer awareness in the First World, and serious consideration of environmental justice and social issues in local, national and international fisheries governance.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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