Tragedy of the few? A political ecology perspective of the right to the sea: The Cyprus marine aquaculture sector
Maria Hadjimichael (1,2); Adriana Bruggeman (1); Manfred A. Lange (1)
1 Cyprus Institute, 20 Konstantinou Kavafi Street, 2121 Aglantzia, Nicosia, Cyprus
2 IFM Aalborg, Department of Development and Planning, Skibrogade 5, DK-9000 Aalborg, Denmark
Marine aquaculture accounts for approximately one third of human consumption of fish, and its further expansion is supported by international organisations such as the United Nations and the European Union. However, this expansion also requires an increase of the farming area which means the leasing and therefore the exclusion of others from an area of public domain. This paper is a study into the governance of marine aquaculture in the island of Cyprus by (i) unfolding the regulatory framework for marine aquaculture, (ii) analysing the environmental protections tools related to aquaculture, the Environmental Impact Assessments (EIA) and Environmental Monitoring Reports, and (iii) by conducting interviews with relevant stakeholders. Even though the regulatory framework seemed to be in compliance with EU and national regulations, this was often questioned by stakeholders. Serious conflicts between stakeholders, which occurred in different periods, were identified. Shortcomings related mainly to the one-dimensional focus of evaluating the EIAs, without taking into account the opinions of communities in the proximity of the proposed aquaculture farms, fisher groups and environmental NGOs. Coastal communities are often already affected by a number of developments such as tourism and the expansion of the oil and gas sector. To ensure balanced decision making, EIAs should become integrated assessments that also explore the potential social impacts of a development and address the desires and concerns of these communities. In the current economic climate, net economic gain and the contribution of a development to a country׳s GDP should not monopolise the discussions.
Keywords: Political ecology; Marine aquaculture; Common property; Coastal communities; Cyprus
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