Cooperation and conflict between large- and small-scale fisheries: A Southeast Asian example

Document Type


Date of Original Version



INTRODUCTION As globalization has affected the market for marine products, increasing demand and prices have induced entrepreneurs to invest in more expensive, larger-scale fishing operations. These differences in scale range along a continuum from individual fishers using unmechanized gear to large factory trawlers employing tens of fishers, processors, and others. Many of the larger-scale operations coexist with small-scale operators, sometimes harvesting the same species in the same area. Differences in scale have existed throughout the history of fishery development (Thompson 1983; Sider 2003), but they have become more pronounced today, especially in developing economies. Most discussions involving interactions between these large-scale and small-scale fishers focus on competition and conflict between the two (e.g., Bailey 1987a; McGoodwin 1990; Payne 2000), as well as impacts on increases in social stratification and inequity (Bailey 1984). For example, McGoodwin (1990:18) notes “many small scale fishers now find themselves increasingly losing competitive struggles with industrialized fishers from urban ports in their own country, or with fishers who have come from distant lands.” There is ample evidence to support the perspective that conflicts between large- and small-scale fishers result from the perception that the large catches and gears of the former reduce the number of fish available to small-scale, coastal fishers (e.g., Bailey et al. 1987; CEP 1989; Masalu 2000; Johnson 2002). In some cases, large-scale operations have resulted in destruction of the small-scale fishers’ gear (Bailey 1987b).

Publication Title, e.g., Journal

Globalization: Effects on Fisheries Resources