Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts in Marine Affairs


Marine Affairs

First Advisor

Seth Macinko


This project investigates bilateral fishing agreements between the European Union and developing states in order to assess the extent to which these agreements are as successful at implementing international law principles as European Union officials have claimed they are. Over the past two decades, European Union rhetoric has communicated an intent to take on a normative power role in advancing human rights and sustainable development approaches in the context of global fisheries policy. Officials have propagated an image of a “new Europe,” conscientious of its colonizing heritage, committed to promoting good maritime governance, and ensuring responsible fishing worldwide as part of its global responsibility to sustainable development. These normative principles have at times been framed as an integral part of the European Union’s legal and political identity. In practice, however, the bilateral agreements have often come short of European Union aspirations, facing criticism for hindering rather than aiding local development. This project explores the bilateral agreements from an international law perspective, engaging in grounded theory, discourse analysis, and a detailed case study on European Union-Senegal fishing relations. For the European Union, the study raises questions about conflicts between national and supranational fishing goals and about the challenges these conflicts present to its goal of normative leadership. More generally, the project suggests implications for enacting international law principles on the ground, as well as for the inherent power dynamics of post-colonial relations fifty years on.



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