MORAL ECONOMY AND MAORI FISHERIES

Fiona McCormack

Abstract


In this article I argue that the separation of commercial and customary fishing, which was a result of the 1992 Treaty of Waitangi Fisheries Settlement Act, denies their essential integration in the practices of small-scale fishers across time and space. Theorists who have analysed the moral economy and petty commodity production invariably conclude that commercial production (for money and/or profit) and customary production (for subsistence and the fulfilment of cultural activities and obligations) exist on a continuum and that both are indeed necessary for the survival of small-scale producers. The definition of customary activity as the absence of monetary transactions is not consistent with either international legal decisions, or with the social reality of small-scale Maori fishers, who operate in mixed economies, sometimes moral, sometimes capitalist, and exchange fish in much the same manner, sometimes in order to achieve a balance and sometimes for profit.

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DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.11157/sites-vol4iss1id27