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 is 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 examines 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 ...
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: 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.
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd This paper emphasises the long-term historical trajectories of marine resource use in the Philippines through an examination of successive environmental fixes. Based on fieldwork from coastal Mindoro province, the paper shows how the technological intensification and geographical expansion of fisheries, the development of aquaculture and the promotion of tourism represent three forms of environmental fixes that aim to address the problems caused by marine resource declines and subsequent lack of availability of means of production. All three fixes have struggled to reduce environmental pressure or provide a long-term basis for livelihoods. The paper argues that viewing how successive types of environmental fixes unfold over long periods of time highlights how marine resource declines are part of much wider economic and historical processes, with consequent implications for livelihoods and governance.
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: Publisher's site
© 2018 The Authors. Natural Resources Forum © 2018 United Nations Food insecurity remains a common problem for Southeast Asian communities that specialise in fishing. Food insecurity is closely linked to other social conditions, and the linkages between these social conditions and their underlying drivers are less well explored in fishing contexts than they are in agricultural contexts. In this paper I draw on fieldwork from a community that specialises in fishing in the Western Philippines to examine the linkages between and drivers of food and water insecurity. Food insecurity is common, and characterised by a lack of funds to buy food, particularly during periods of bad weather. Water insecurity is also characterised by the need to pay for the delivery of drinking water from one of several remote sources. Because of the central role of markets in communities that specialise in fishing, I argue that both food and water insecurity are driven by income poverty. Understanding the relations between food and water insecurity and the wider drivers of poverty in specialised fishing community contexts should generate improved understandings of how food and water insecurity persist, and how these conditions may be better addressed.
© 2018 Elsevier Ltd Emerging forms of governance and many academic analyses of seafood commodity chains currently have a strong focus on financial value, transmitted in a linear 'vertical' fashion from fisher, through traders to eventual consumers. This Brief Communication argues that the social dimensions of value must be given explicit attention in analysis if seafood commodity chains are to be made more equitable and sustainable in changing governance contexts. The paper draws on evidence from selected seafood commodity chains across the Philippines, demonstrating the range of co-produced social values that are of equal or greater significance than financial value. Fishers, traders and consumers, all generate multiple social values that shape the nature and outcomes of seafood commodity chains. In contrast to forms of fisheries governance that focus exclusively on financial or ecological values, the paper suggests that integrating multiple social values into the governance of seafood commodity chains, as well as at the site of production, should become a core focus of research and policy.
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.
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...
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
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
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Changing forms of seafood consumption in China hold immense significance for the marine ecosystems that supply this market, and are a fundamentally important challenge to address for global environmental sustainability. Drawing on recent findings from extensive ethnographic and survey research with seafood traders and consumers in China, this paper analyses policies for improving sustainable seafood consumption in China. The paper evaluates how existing policy initiatives undertaken by civil society and the government are affected by the distinctive social, economic and political context in China, and discusses how future efforts can better build on this context. To improve sustainable seafood consumption will require an effective strategy for working in a market environment characterised by a much greater public interest in food safety than food sustainability, and by a governance environment characterised by the strong role of the state.
Fabinyi, M, Dressler, W & Pido, M 2016, 'Do fish scales matter? Diversification and differentiation in seafood commodity chains', Ocean and Coastal Management, vol. 134, pp. 103-111.View/Download from: Publisher's site
© 2016 Elsevier Ltd Recent studies in the literature on fisheries trade have contrasted the challenges and opportunities associated with domestic and internationally oriented fish trade. We examine forms of domestic and international fish trade in a municipality of the Philippines to show the empirical complexities of how fish trade unfolds on the ground. We draw on insights from the literature in livelihoods to highlight how the debate on fisheries trade can benefit from closer attention to the social and economic context of fisher livelihoods. We argue that from the perspective of small-scale producers who are focused on maintaining diversified livelihoods across a range of fisheries, the distinctions between domestic and international fish trade blur locally, and are sometimes of limited relevance when assessing livelihood options and outcomes. Instead, a more important distinction for households is social differentiation based on ownership of fishing assets. We suggest that household asset characteristics strongly influence how households can access a broad range of fisheries (both domestically and internationally traded) that often co-emerge in rural areas of the Philippines. We argue that a better understanding of household diversification and differentiation provides a view of fisheries trade that is more closely aligned with the perspectives and priorities of local fishers, than a focus on whether such trade is (or should be) domestically or internationally oriented.
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.
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
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
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.
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
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.
Foale, S, Adhuri, D, Aliño, 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
© 2012 Elsevier Ltd. The Asia-Pacific's Coral Triangle is defined by its extremely high marine biodiversity. Over one hundred million people living in its coastal zones use this biodiversity to support their livelihoods. Hundreds of millions more derive nutritious food directly from the region's marine resources and through local, regional and global trade. Biodiversity and its values to society are threatened by demographic and habitat change, rising demand, intensive harvesting and climate change. In partnership with international conservation organisations and development funders, the governments of the region's six countries have come together to develop the Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) on Coral Reefs, Fisheries and Food Security. The CTI has explicit goals and defined targets for marine biodiversity conservation, but not for the food security of the region's marine-resource dependent people, despite this being the wider aim used to justify conservation action. This article suggests how the food security aim of the CTI could be made more explicit. It outlines the complex pathways linking marine biodiversity with food security and argues that improved social science analysis, inter-sectoral policy and management interactions are necessary if conserving marine biodiversity is to contribute towards meeting food security challenges in the region.
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, 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
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
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 & 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
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
Research on coastal resource management (CRM) in the Philippines has been undertaken from multiple disciplinary perspectives, and has argued for continued consideration of local-level social contexts and conditions. In this article we argue that social complexity within coastal communities is deserving of greater attention by practitioners and analysts of CRM. Using ethnographic methods based on long-term anthropological fieldwork in three different locations of the Philippines, we demonstrate how various aspects of social complexity have significant implications for the outcomes of CRM. Three case studies are presented that focus on illegal fishing in Palawan, the question of participation in CRM projects in Negros Oriental, and marine protected areas (MPAs) in Cebu. By highlighting social complexity, we demonstrate how the planning, implementation, and impacts of CRM have different effects for different groups of people. It is argued that greater attention to social complexity through the use of ethnographic fieldwork can both highlight the local social processes that frequently shape and influence the outcomes of CRM, and point toward more sociallyentation, and impacts of CRM have different effects for different groups of people. It is argued that greater attention to social complexity through the use of ethnographic fieldwork can both highlight the local social processes that frequently shape and influence the outcomes of CRM, and point toward more socially inclusive and sustainable modes of CRM. © Taylor & Francis Group, LLC.
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 2009, 'The Politics of Patronage and Live Reef Fish Trade Regulation in Palawan, Philippines', HUMAN ORGANIZATION, vol. 68, no. 3, pp. 258-268.
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.