Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/1946/28665
Property rights have become dominant across world fisheries within a relatively short space of time. Within the context of natural resources, there have long been theories of ownership of property connected to labouring upon the resource; “mixing labour” with the resource to make it one’s own. This thesis examines connections between labourers and property rights within the specific context of the Scottish demersal (White fish) fishery. This is achieved via in-depth qualitative interviews with “owner-skippers” active, or previously active, in the fishery. The key findings group around topics of labour, national ownership, consolidation, leasing, and agency. This thesis discovers strong and relevant connections, both direct and indirect, between the owner-skippers’ conceptions of their labour and their claims to ownership over the fish (via an advanced quota system). However, the very same connections discovered in this thesis are also simultaneously being undermined by forces within the fish economy that are changing the nature of fishing-labour. Importantly, the owner-skippers should be seen not so much as harvesters out in the open sea, but businessmen and owners of capital motivated mainly by their own self-interests. Despite this, a degree of sympathy and agreement towards a more publically owned and managed system is evident. The importance of this should not be underestimated. The owner-skippers are the key actors and instigators within fisheries management. In order to maintain fisheries management, or improve upon it, these actors must be both understood and accommodated.