Coombe, R. J.. (1998). Intellectual Property, Human Rights & Sovereignty: New Dilemmas in International Law Posed by the Recognition of Indigenous Knowledge and the Conservation of Biodiversity. Indiana Journal of Global Legal Studies, 6(1), 59–115.
Around the world there is a popular narrative that there is an issue of over-fishing and that our marine life is being depleted. The authors of this piece examine these narratives such as how they are created, how they persist over time and how they influence environmental management. The examine the narrative of global over-fishing, small scale fishing, floodplain fisheries and last, examine a case study of the Upper Zambezi River Floodplains. In this region fishing is the main source of livelihood for most people. The men catch and fish and the women typically sell them in the markets. It was only recently that the government started to manage the fishing in the area and the factors they consider the most important when managing can be broken into the following categories: environmental, technical or demographic. Next, the authors looked at the views of policy makers versus that of recreational fishers versus other locals. Something interesting the found was that the narrative of over-fishing, produced by the policy makers, had little citation. So even though they were creating management policies based on these “facts” they did not have concrete evidence. To bring this full circle, the authors concluded by saying that the problem with narratives are that we do not use them in context and instead use them generally. In order to effectively manage the environment we cannot use a narrative generally for multiple populations and demographics. This causes people to believe that the same policies for one area can be implemented in another and that is not a way to successfully manage an environment.