Human dignity: a fundamental guiding value for a human rights approach to fisheries?

Song, Andrew M. (2015) Human dignity: a fundamental guiding value for a human rights approach to fisheries? Marine Policy, 61. pp. 164-170.

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Recently, a human rights approach has been center-staged within fisheries governance as a response to the limits of private property rights in reducing insecurity and vulnerability among fishers and fishing communities. Despite its growing adoption in international legal frameworks and among civil society organizations, the conceptual pitfalls of the human rights approach to fisheries (i.e., its neoliberal tendencies and the neglect of collective rights and social duties) raised by critical scholarship remain largely unsettled, leading to practical concerns about whether such a framework will ultimately benefit fishers on the ground. To further contribute to the debate, this article presents a nuanced discussion of the human rights perspective by introducing the concept of human dignity. Specifically, it argues that human dignity, with its greater conceptual scope and depth, could act as a foundational value with which to mitigate some of the shortcomings of the human rights approach. The purpose here is suggestive rather than definitive and is aimed at highlighting the link that has not been clearly made between human rights and human dignity. I argue that heightened attention to human dignity has the potential to create wider support for the human rights approach and ultimately help facilitate its efficacy in fisheries.

Item ID: 49918
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1872-9460
Keywords: human rights approach; human dignity; fisheries governance; neoliberalism; collective rights; social duties
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This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license (

Funders: Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council (SSHRC)
Projects and Grants: SSHRC Too Big To Ignore (TBTI) project
Date Deposited: 22 Aug 2017 00:47
FoR Codes: 18 LAW AND LEGAL STUDIES > 1801 Law > 180114 Human Rights Law @ 30%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050209 Natural Resource Management @ 40%
16 STUDIES IN HUMAN SOCIETY > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy @ 30%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9607 Environmental Policy, Legislation and Standards > 960701 Coastal and Marine Management Policy @ 80%
94 LAW, POLITICS AND COMMUNITY SERVICES > 9404 Justice and the Law > 940407 Legislation, Civil and Criminal Codes @ 20%
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