Dalhousie Law Journal


Canada, fishery, values, policy, collapse, interests, intrinsic good, instrumental good, sustainability, social constructionist, management


This paper applies a "social constructionist" position to an understanding of the nature of fisheries management policy. It argues that both the way in which we view "nature" and the way in which we view such natural resources of the fishery are "socially constructed" in terms of particular value orientations and the interests that these represent. In particular, it examines the value orientations related to the social construction of the fishery as a biological, social, or economic resource, as well as the social constructions involved in regarding the fishery as either common property or a common heritage. It also argues that perspectives of the fishery in terms of sustainable development adopt a utilitarian approach to nature rather than an environment centred approach. The paper concludes with a brief consideration of the way in which these "social constructions" were part of the 1995 dispute overthe turbot fishery off Canada's east coast and considers the extent to which such "social construction" have implications for Canada's future fisheries management policy.