Michael Fabinyi uses theories and methods from the social sciences to understand the social, political and cultural aspects of marine resource use and management. He completed his PhD at the Australian National University (2009), and from 2010-2016 worked at the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University. He has lived and worked in China, Indonesia, Malaysia, Papua New Guinea, the Philippines and Solomon Islands. He has held visiting appointments at Peking University (2013-14), WorldFish, Malaysia (2015), and is an Adjunct Associate Professor at Palawan State University, Philippines.
From 2012-2017 Michael was the recipient of a Society in Science - Branco Weiss fellowship, a fellowship funded through ETH Zurich that supports novel, trans-disciplinary research. His research for this fellowship examined the drivers, trends and consequences of changing patterns of Chinese seafood consumption. Other research interests include fisheries governance, food security, agrarian change and coastal tourism.
Can supervise: YES
- political ecology
- fisheries governance
- food security
- agrarian change
- coastal tourism
- environmental anthropology
- Southeast Asia
- international development
The book draws on data from ethnographic fieldwork with fishers, government and NGO officials, fish traders and tourism operators to show how the strategic responses of fishers to management initiatives are couched within particular ...
Fabinyi, MG, Dressler, W & Pido, M 2019, 'Access to fisheries in the maritime frontier of Palawan province, the Philippines', Singapore Journal of Tropical Geography, vol. 40, pp. 92-110.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M, Barclay, K & Eriksson, H 2019, 'Corrigendum: Chinese trader perceptions on sourcing and consumption of endangered seafood [Front. Mar. Sci. 4, (2017), (181)] doi: 10.3389/fmars.2017.00181', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 6, no. APR.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Barclay, K, Fabinyi, M, Kinch, J & Foale, S 2019, 'Governability of High-Value Fisheries in Low-Income Contexts: a Case Study of the Sea Cucumber Fishery in Papua New Guinea', Human Ecology, vol. 47, no. 3, pp. 381-396.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2019, The Author(s). High demand and prices in global markets for luxury seafood fished by coastal communities in low-income contexts causes overfishing. There are few alternatives for fishers to earn money, most institutions for controlling effort are weak, and markets are beyond the control of fishing states. The mismatch between desires for development and governance measures to enable that development is shared across many high-value low-income contexts. Using the sea cucumber fishery of Papua New Guinea as an example, this paper illustrates how the interactive governance framework provides a holistic approach to revealing governability limits and opportunities. Analysis of the system to be governed demonstrates that development for coastal communities is fundamental to the fishery as a motivating force and as a principle legitimising actions within the fishery and its management. This analysis highlights the fact that fisheries management is based on the assumption that an open fishery will lead to development, due to its economic value. However, money does not equal development. For this and other similar fisheries to increase development in coastal communities, issues not usually considered within the purview of the management of fisheries must be addressed, including gendered and intergenerational decision-making and income distribution, financial planning and government provision of infrastructure and services.
Steenbergen, DJ, Fabinyi, M, Barclay, K, Song, AM, Cohen, PJ, Eriksson, H & Mills, DJ 2019, 'Governance interactions in small-scale fisheries market chains: Examples from the Asia-Pacific', FISH AND FISHERIES, vol. 20, no. 4, pp. 697-714.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Cohen, PJ, Allison, EH, Andrew, NL, Cinner, J, Evans, LS, Fabinyi, M, Garces, LR, Hall, SJ, Hicks, CC, Hughes, TP, Jentoft, S, Mills, DJ, Masu, R, Mbaru, EK & Ratner, BD 2019, 'Securing a just space for small-scale fisheries in the blue economy', Frontiers in Marine Science, vol. 6, no. MAR.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2019 Cohen, Allison, Andrew, Cinner, Evans, Fabinyi, Garces, Hall, Hicks, Hughes, Jentoft, Mills, Masu, Mbaru and Ratner. The vast developmental opportunities offered by the world's coasts and oceans have attracted the attention of governments, private enterprises, philanthropic organizations, and international conservation organizations. High-profile dialogue and policy decisions on the future of the ocean are informed largely by economic and ecological research. Key insights from the social sciences raise concerns for food and nutrition security, livelihoods and social justice, but these have yet to gain traction with investors and the policy discourse on transforming ocean governance. The largest group of ocean-users - women and men who service, fish and trade from small-scale fisheries (SSF) - argue that they have been marginalized from the dialogue between international environmental and economic actors that is determining strategies for the future of the ocean. Blue Economy or Blue Growth initiatives see the ocean as the new economic frontier and imply an alignment with social objectives and SSF concerns. Deeper analysis reveals fundamental differences in ideologies, priorities and approaches. We argue that SSF are being subtly and overtly squeezed for geographic, political and economic space by larger scale economic and environmental conservation interests, jeopardizing the substantial benefits SSF provide through the livelihoods of millions of women and men, for the food security of around four billion consumers globally, and in the developing world, as a key source of micro-nutrients and protein for over a billion low-income consumers. Here, we bring insights from social science and SSF to explore how ocean governance might better account for social dimensions of fisheries.
Fabinyi, M 2018, 'Food and water insecurity in specialised fishing communities: evidence from the Philippines', NATURAL RESOURCES FORUM, vol. 42, no. 4, pp. 243-253.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Dressler, WH, Fletcher, R & Fabinyi, M 2018, 'Value from Ruin? Governing Speculative Conservation in Ruptured Landscapes', TRaNS: Trans-Regional and -National Studies of Southeast Asia, vol. 6, no. 1, pp. 73-99.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Copyright © Institute for East Asian Studies, Sogang University 2018. This paper examines how state and non-state actors govern through pursuing speculative conservation among resource-dependent people who must renegotiate altered livelihoods amidst extractivism in ruptured landscapes. As donor aid declines and changes form, bilaterals, state agencies, and civil society now pursue advocacy in overlapping spaces of intensifying extractivism and speculative governance in the ruptured frontiers of Southeast Asia. In these spaces, bilaterals and non-governmental organisations (NGOs) struggle to work with upland farmers who negotiate the contrasting expectations of the abstract, speculative nature of conservation initiatives and the lucrative nature of extractive labour in the face of dramatic transformations of agrarian livelihoods and landscapes. Through a case study of the Philippine uplands, we demonstrate that as speculative conservation unfolds and manifests within and beyond these landscapes, it endeavours to revalue nature monetarily in ways that help reorganise labour and capital in an effort to overcome the exhaustion of capital wrought by rupture. We propose that during moments of rupture speculative conservation coproduces value from ruin by renewing and preserving capital flows.
Barclay, K, Voyer, M, Mazur, N, Payne, AM, Mauli, S, Kinch, J, Fabinyi, M & Smith, G 2017, 'The importance of qualitative social research for effective fisheries management', Fisheries Research, vol. 186, pp. 426-438.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2016Over recent decades it has become widely accepted that managing fisheries resources means managing human behaviour, and so understanding social and economic dynamics is just as important as understanding species biology and ecology. Until recently, fisheries managers and researchers have struggled to develop effective methods and data for social and economic analysis that can integrate with the predominantly biological approaches to fisheries management. The field is now growing fast, however, and globally, researchers are developing and testing new methods. This paper uses three divergent case studies to demonstrate the value of using qualitative social science approaches to complement more conventional quantitative methods to improve the knowledge base for fisheries management. In all three cases, qualitative interview and document review methods enabled broad surveying to explore the research questions in particular contexts and identified where quantitative tools could be most usefully applied. In the first case (the contribution of commercial fisheries to coastal communities in eastern Australia), a wellbeing analysis identified the social benefits from particular fisheries, which can be used to identify the social impacts of different fisheries management policies. In the second case (a gender analysis of fisheries of small islands in the Pacific), analysis outlined opportunities and constraints along fisheries supply chains, illuminated factors inhibiting community development and identified ecological factors that are typically overlooked in conventional fisheries management. In the third case (sea cucumber fisheries in Papua New Guinea), an interactive governance analysis assessed how well fisheries management tools fit the ecological, social and economic reality of the fishery and the trade in its products, including market influences and stakeholder values. The qualitative approach adopted in these three case studies adds a new dimension to under...
Fabinyi, M, Dressler, WH & Pido, MD 2017, 'Fish, Trade and Food Security: Moving beyond 'Availability' Discourse in Marine Conservation', Human Ecology, vol. 45, no. 2, pp. 177-188.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© 2016, Springer Science+Business Media New York. The goal of food security increasingly serves as an objective and justification for marine conservation in the global south. In the marine conservation literature this potential link is seldom based upon detailed analysis of the socioeconomic pathways between fish and food security, is often based on limited assumptions about increasing the availability of fish stocks, and downplays the role of trade. Yet, the relationship between fish and food security is multi-faceted and complex, with various local contextual factors that mediate between fish and food security. We use data from interviews and food security assessment methods to examine the relationship between fish and food security among fishing households in San Vicente, Palawan province, Philippines. We highlight the local role of income and trade, emphasising the sale of fish to purchase food not easily accessible for fishers, particularly staples. In particular, we show that because rice is the primary staple of food security for these households, fish must be traded with the intent of buying rice. Trade is therefore central to household food security. We argue that the relationship between fish and food security must be considered in greater depth if marine conservation is to engage with food security as an objective.
Fabinyi, M, Liu, N, Song, Q & Li, R 2016, 'Aquatic product consumption patterns and perceptions among the Chinese middle class', Regional Studies in Marine Science, vol. 7, pp. 1-9.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The Chinese market for aquatic products is the largest in the world, and growing rapidly. An increasingly large proportion of Chinese aquatic product consumption is coming from imported sources, making the market of high significance not only for stakeholders in China, but from around the world. Yet little is understood about the key characteristics of this market. In this paper we surveyed 300 middle-class urban consumers of aquatic products in Beijing and Shanghai about patterns of aquatic product consumption and attitudes towards sustainability. We asked about the major types of aquatic products consumed, the forms of aquatic products consumed, the different types of venues aquatic products are consumed in, the purchasing location of aquatic products, and the different types of motivation behind aquatic product consumption. We also examined awareness of and attitudes towards a range of public awareness campaigns on environmentalism, understandings of the endangered status of different types of aquatic products, and attitudes towards a range of topics related to sustainability and consumption. Our results indicate limited levels of awareness on a range of issues to do with sustainability among urban middle-class Chinese consumers. Education level was closely correlated with support for Marine Stewardship Council concepts and environmental advertisements. Our results highlight some of the opportunities and challenges faced by both government and market actors in improving sustainability in the Chinese consumer market.
Fabinyi, M, Dressler, W & Pido, M 2016, 'Do fish scales matter? Diversification and differentiation in seafood commodity chains', OCEAN & COASTAL MANAGEMENT, vol. 134, pp. 103-111.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Cinner, JE, Pratchett, MS, Graham, NAJ, Messmer, V, Fuentes, MMPB, Ainsworth, T, Ban, N, Bay, LK, Blythe, J, Dissard, D, Dunn, S, Evans, L, Fabinyi, M, Fidelman, P, Figueiredo, J, Frisch, AJ, Fulton, CJ, Hicks, CC, Lukoschek, V, Mallela, J, Moya, A, Penin, L, Rummer, JL, Walker, S & Williamson, DH 2016, 'A framework for understanding climate change impacts on coral reef social-ecological systems', REGIONAL ENVIRONMENTAL CHANGE, vol. 16, no. 4, pp. 1133-1146.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Horigue, V, Fabinyi, M, Pressey, RL, Foale, S & Alino, PM 2016, 'Influence of Governance Context on the Management Performance of Marine Protected Area Networks', COASTAL MANAGEMENT, vol. 44, no. 1, pp. 71-91.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M 2016, 'Producing for Chinese luxury seafood value chains: Different outcomes for producers in the Philippines and North America', MARINE POLICY, vol. 63, pp. 184-190.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Case, P, Evans, LS, Fabinyi, M, Cohen, PJ, Hicks, CC, Prideaux, M & Mills, DJ 2015, 'Rethinking environmental leadership: The social construction of leaders and leadership in discourses of ecological crisis, development, and conservation', LEADERSHIP, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 396-423.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M, Foale, S & Macintyre, M 2015, 'Managing inequality or managing stocks? An ethnographic perspective on the governance of small-scale fisheries', FISH AND FISHERIES, vol. 16, no. 3, pp. 471-485.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M, Pido, M, de Leon, EMP, de las Alas, MA, Buenconsejo, J, Uyami-Bitara, A, Harani, B & Caceres, J 2014, 'Fisheries trade and social development in the Philippine-Malaysia maritime border zone', Development Policy Review, vol. 32, no. 6, pp. 715-732.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
© The Authors 2014. © 2014 Overseas Development Institute. Weakly regulated natural-resource trading activities in the remote borderlands of developing countries are commonly viewed both as a means of improving economic development and as a way of smuggling valuable natural resources. Based on data from the Philippine-Malaysia maritime border that focus on the trade in high-value live reef fish, this article points to the need to situate such cross-border activities more closely within the context of local perspectives and priorities. A locally-grounded perspective is necessary in order to understand the context of social-development challenges that mediate both macroeconomic and environmental policy outcomes.
Fabinyi, M & Liu, N 2014, 'Seafood banquets in Beijing: Consumer perspectives and implications for environmental sustainability', Conservation and Society, vol. 12, no. 2, pp. 218-228.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Understanding the social drivers of increased seafood consumption in China, such as consumer perspectives in banquets, will be crucial if practical strategies to introduce sustainability into this market are to be successfully implemented. Based on 34 semi-structured interviews with key informants including seafood restaurant operators, seafood consumers and seafood traders, this study investigated seafood consumer attitudes and behaviours in Beijing seafood restaurants. The results and discussion is divided into sections that address the popularity and reasons behind the popularity of: 1) seafood banquets in general; 2) fish at banquets; 3) other forms of seafood at banquets; and 4) preferred characteristics and qualities of seafood at banquets. The consumption of certain types of seafood such as live reef fish and sea cucumber is becoming increasingly popular, while the consumption of shark fin is decreasing in popularity. Awareness and concern about sustainability and traceability issues were relatively low, and more significant themes for understanding consumer preferences about seafood include social status and prestige, food safety and quality, and health and nutrition. The paper concludes by demonstrating the implications for market-based interventions and government regulation.
With the massive expansion of the Chinese economy over the last thirty years, China's role in global fisheries production, trade and consumption has become increasingly prominent, and a progressively conspicuous focus of attention among academics and policymakers. This rapid growth in the fisheries sector has also come with significant environmental challenges. The paper first describes trends in environmental governance generally in China, then examines recent developments in fisheries governance, then discusses the role of civil society and market actors. The essay outlines 1) particularly important developments in policy and governance in China that affect global fisheries; 2) their environmental implications; and 3) the social, economic and political processes that influence these policy and governance developments. Noteworthy trends include: the increasing expansion of the aquaculture and distant water fishing sectors; state policy that increasingly emphasises sustainability; the introduction of environmental certification regimes; and attention to Chinese seafood consumption. However, significant challenges remain in relation to enforcement of state policies, and limitations of NGO and private sector activities. © 2014 Elsevier Ltd.
Fabinyi, M, Evans, L & Foale, SJ 2014, 'Social-ecological systems, social diversity, and power: insights from anthropology and political ecology', ECOLOGY AND SOCIETY, vol. 19, no. 4.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Dressler, W, Singh, S, Brunt, H, Fabinyi, M, Acciaioli, G & Clifton, J 2014, 'Statelessness and conservation: Exploring the implications of an international governance agenda', Tilburg Law Review, vol. 19, no. 1-2, pp. 81-89.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
The world's remaining biodiversity-rich regions are often located in borderlands or physically remote areas which are frequently also inhabited by stateless peoples, who are then subjected to policies expressly designed to exclude or restrict local livelihood activities. This situation has been exacerbated by the tendency for international non-governmental organisations to join forces with the State to promote their conservation agenda. Whilst the political and environmental implications of this trend have been explored within the academic literature, the consequences for the survival of disempowered and marginalised stateless communities have received little attention. This article will focus upon stateless peoples enmeshed within a policy framework influenced by globalised environmental priorities and directed by international conservation NGOs in South-East Asia. It will explore how stateless peoples' capacities are undermined by models of 'participation' used by these actors and underline the importance of recognising stateless peoples' rights and responsibilities in marine natural resource management. © 2014 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands.
Foale, S, Adhuri, D, Alino, P, Allison, EH, Andrew, N, Cohen, P, Evans, L, Fabinyi, M, Fidelman, P, Gregory, C, Stacey, N, Tanzer, J & Weeratunge, N 2013, 'Food security and the Coral Triangle Initiative', MARINE POLICY, vol. 38, pp. 174-183.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Fidelman, P, Evans, L, Fabinyi, M, Foale, S, Cinner, J & Rosen, F 2012, 'Governing large-scale marine commons: Contextual challenges in the Coral Triangle', MARINE POLICY, vol. 36, no. 1, pp. 42-53.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M, Pido, M, Harani, B, Caceres, J, Uyami-Bitara, A, De las Alas, A, Buenconsejo, J & Ponce de Leon, EM 2012, 'Luxury seafood consumption in China and the intensification of coastal livelihoods in Southeast Asia: The live reef fish for food trade in Balabac, Philippines', ASIA PACIFIC VIEWPOINT, vol. 53, no. 2, pp. 118-132.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M 2012, 'Historical, cultural and social perspectives on luxury seafood consumption in China', ENVIRONMENTAL CONSERVATION, vol. 39, no. 1, pp. 83-92.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M & Dalabajan, D 2011, 'Policy and practice in the live reef fish for food trade: A case study from Palawan, Philippines', MARINE POLICY, vol. 35, no. 3, pp. 371-378.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Dressler, WH & Fabinyi, M 2011, 'Farmer Gone Fish'n? Swidden Decline and the Rise of Grouper Fishing on Palawan Island, the Philippines', JOURNAL OF AGRARIAN CHANGE, vol. 11, no. 4, pp. 536-555.View/Download from: UTS OPUS or Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M 2010, 'The Intensification of Fishing and the Rise of Tourism: Competing Coastal Livelihoods in the Calamianes Islands, Philippines', HUMAN ECOLOGY, vol. 38, no. 3, pp. 415-427.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M, Knudsen, M & Segi, S 2010, 'Social Complexity, Ethnography and Coastal Resource Management in the Philippines', COASTAL MANAGEMENT, vol. 38, no. 6, pp. 617-632.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Bulloch, H & Fabinyi, M 2009, 'Transnational Relationships, Transforming Selves: Filipinas Seeking Husbands Abroad', ASIA PACIFIC JOURNAL OF ANTHROPOLOGY, vol. 10, no. 2, pp. 129-142.View/Download from: Publisher's site
Fabinyi, M 2014, 'Fishing and Socio-economic change in the Calamianes Islands.' in Eder, JF & Evangelista, OL (eds), Palawan and its Global Connections, Ateneo de Manila University Press, Quezon City, pp. 140-160.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Fishing has long been the primary means by which residents of the Calamianes group of islands in northern Palawan have been socially and economically connected to other parts of the country and the region more generally. Like elsewhere in Palawan, many people have been drawn to the area primarily because of the opportunities provided by the natural resources of the region, and in the case of the Calamianes the most abundant natural resources are marine resources. The opportunity afforded by fishing – and a lack of opportunity in home provinces – has driven migration to the area, and the ensuing sale and distribution of these marine resources has linked the islands to larger economic networks from Manila to China and beyond. As such, fishing has been central to the ways in which the Calamianes has been connected to other places, and central to many of the social, economic and environmental changes occurring in the Calamianes itself1.
This chapter will examine the links between fishing and the 'global networks' of Palawan, or more particularly the Calamianes Islands, by adopting a social historical perspective (McCoy 1982). I will focus my attention on two particular forms of fishing: muro-ami fishing (and latter incarnations of the closely related paaling fishing – hereafter referred to together for convenience simply as muro-ami), and the live reef fish for food trade (hereafter LRFFT). While various forms of fishing have been present in the recent history of the Calamianes, these two fisheries have been highly significant. Both fisheries have been important economically, and have drawn a great deal of academic and media attention well beyond Palawan. I focus on these two fisheries because they are prominent examples of, and give particular insights into, the ways in which the Calamianes Islands has formed linkages with external regions, and what some of the effects of these linkages have been. Firstly, they illustrate how many of the changes of the region have b...
Fabinyi, MG Australia-China Relations Institute, University of Technology Sydney 2018, The Chinese seafood market: opportunities and challenges for Australian exporters, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Barclay, KM, Kinch, J, Fabinyi, M, Waddell, S, Smith, G, Sharma, S, Kichawen, P, Foale, S & Hamilton, R University of Technology Sydney 2016, Interactive Governance Analysis of the Beche-de-Mer 'Fish Chain' from Papua New Guinea to Asian Markets, pp. 01-168, Sydney.
The objective of this study was to conduct a governance analysis that will assist the National Fisheries Authority (NFA) and other stakeholders to grasp the factors influencing the effectiveness of the new Management Plan.