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Title: The 'having, doing and being' of fishing well : assessing the social wellbeing of Northern Ireland's fishing households in a changing coastal environment
Author: Britton, Easkey
Awarding Body: Ulster University
Current Institution: Ulster University
Date of Award: 2012
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There is growing interest in how the concept of wellbeing might be applied to fisheries, especially in terms of deepening assessment of the ways in which decline in the fisheries sector is affecting fishing-dependent families, and the wider community (Coulthard et al. 2011). This study applies a three-dimensional wellbeing framework and methodology, adapted from the ESRC research group on Wellbeing in Developing Countries (WeD) University of Bath, to gain insight into the wellbeing of fishing households in Northern Ireland, in particular the impacts of changing access to fish on wellbeing. The three-dimensional approach considers material, relational and subjective dimensions and the study illustrates the importance of all three dimensions for a full assessment of wellbeing (McGregor 2007, McGregor and Sumner 2010). In light of EU policy change and fisheries decline, the central aims of this thesis are to explore how changing access to fisheries affects the wellbeing of fishers and their families and the coping strategies fishing households and individuals use in response to this change. This thesis presents empirical data on wellbeing from a person-centred perspective. That is, how men and women in fishing communities define their wellbeing and what they value most for a good life. The study presents findings on the resources fishing households have access to and the relationships that influence fishing behaviour. The findings emphasise the importance of embedding our understanding of wellbeing within the enabling environment - the social structures and relational processes that can enable or constrain how people are able to achieve wellbeing. This thesis shows that the there are multiple factors driving change in NI fishing society, in particular the reform of the EU's Common Fisheries Policy, the growing environmental discourse within fisheries management and the economic recession. The study highlights the connection between fisheries and the wider social and economic health of the region and the importance of understanding the local context. Despite the close proximity of the fishing communities in this study, the findings show local variations and heterogeneity between communities and even within, which supports the argument for scalable solutions to fisheries management issues. This thesis highlights the important wellbeing functions of a fishing way of life as well as the increasing demand to adapt to change and the consequences of adaptation and coping strategies for wellbeing. The outcomes of changing access to fish for wellbeing are multi-dimensional and include economic insecurity, health and safety issues, changing relationships (at household, community and State level), in particular, frustration with the current governance system as a result of a lack of voice in decision-making processes. The thesis concludes with key policy recommendations, sign-posting a pathway to wellbeing and sustainable fisheries governance.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available