Contesting The Blue Revolution: A Political Ecology Of Salmon Aquaculture
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The global salmon aquaculture industry has experienced extensive growth over the past 40 years, and arisen as a dominant actor in the international seafood system. As a form of intensive fish production, the farming of salmon requires active industrial-scale inputs resulting in its entanglement into a commodity chain of global proportions. The aquaculture industry is presenting both highly lucrative, and contested opportunities for rural coastal development and national economic growth. While being touted within the positive attributes of the ‘Blue Revolution’, this new industry is immersed in significant environmental controversy due to the associated external costs of production. As a comparatively new natural resource sector, the drivers and controversies of the aquaculture debate presents a contemporary example natural resource conflict. While existing within the localized dimensions of rural coastal geographies (i.e. the Scottish Highlands and Islands), the salmon farming industry encompasses global narratives of capitalist development, contested knowledge and neoliberal environmental governance. This presents a unique point of analysis for the discipline of critical geography in moving beyond the strictly ‘environmental’ dimensions of the aquaculture controversy. Through adopting a political ecology analysis, a localized analysis of stakeholders on the Isle of Skye and the Scottish Highlands and Islands was carried out in this research project. In contesting and deconstructing the ‘promises of the Blue Revolution’, this dissertation explores the creation of new geographical relationships that have evolved out of the rise and proliferation of the salmon aquaculture industry. As a system doused in issues of power, politics, capitalism and constructions of nature, the industry is providing new dimensions of contested knowledge, rural capitalist accumulation and commodification of nature.
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