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A Feminist Political Ecology of Commodity Fishing in Palau

Caroline Ferguson, Postdoctoral Researcher, Bren School

Mar 6 2023 | 11:00am to 12:00pm PT Online / Viewing in Bren Hall 1414

Caroline Ferguson stands on a beach
Caroline Ferguson

Dr. Ferguson is a community-engaged marine social scientist whose research focuses on just, equitable, and resilient wild fisheries. Her talk will discuss how sea cucumber fisheries in Palau bolster Indigenous sovereignty and values, rural women’s livelihoods, and food security, all while responding to and resisting commoditization in foreign markets.
—Alia Ajina, MESM 2023

Dr. Ferguson will be presenting remotely. Join online (link TBA), or view the remote talk in Bren Hall 1414.


In Palau, sea cucumber fisheries promote food security, Indigenous values, and rural women's livelihoods. What happened when this culturally significant fishery became commoditized for export to foreign markets? Who benefited from the influx of dollars, and how? Who bears the costs of the fishery's degradation? How have communities mobilized in response? This intersectional case study demonstrates that fishing communities are not homogeneous, that the impacts of the seafood trade are not equitably distributed, and that fishers' resistance can save a resource from the brink to reassert Indigenous sovereignty.


Dr. Caroline Ferguson is a community-engaged marine social scientist. Her research, teaching, and advocacy center issues of equity and justice in wild fisheries. Caroline earned her PhD from Stanford in Environment and Resources in 2021 and is currently a postdoctoral scholar in the Bren School at UCSB. Her current research at UCSB examines the barriers to and benefits of women's participation in fisheries management in Fiji. She also teaches Decolonizing Environmental Social Science Research with colleagues in Palau.

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