Through Boom and Bust: Coping with Poverty in Sea Snail Fisheries on the Turkish Black Sea Coast

  • Ståle KnudsenEmail author
  • Hakan Koçak


Small-scale fisheries for the introduced sea snail (Rapana venosa) have seen booms followed by irreversible bust. This chapter focuses on the role of this fishery relative to poverty dynamics on the Turkish Black Sea coast, and explores how fishers cope with boom and bust, respectively. We consider poverty as a multi-faceted issue and analyze in some detail fishers’ income, social security, health, education, housing, as well as people’s own, culturally-informed perception of what constitutes poverty. Yet, our analysis aims beyond a descriptive account of poverty among fishers, and queries the epistemological status of the vicious circle model. Thus, we discuss how sea snail fishing has also constituted a way out of poverty; that it is uncertain whether overfishing can be blamed for the bust; that contextual factors, such as state welfare and agricultural policies, international organizations, and world economic dynamics, can have significant impact on poverty and wealth among the coastal population of the Black Sea coast of Turkey. The boom years of the sea snail fisheries clearly created a frontier situation inhibiting prospects of co-management between the state and communities of fishers. The observed lack of collective action among fishers and their concomitant incapacity to participate can be considered a dimension of poverty. Therefore, fishery development should not only go hand in hand with fishery management, but also with social policies aimed at reducing poverty and inequality.


Collective Action Vicious Circle Social Assistance Small Boat Green Card 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.



In addition to funding from the PovFish project, the research leading to these results has received funding from the European Community’s Seventh Framework Programme [FP7/2007–2013]: Knowledge-based Sustainable Management for Europe’s Seas (EC FP7 – grant 226675). The KnowSeas project is affiliated with LOICZ and LWEC. The authors want to thank research assistants Özlem Yeniay and Kayhan Ural for their very competent participation during fieldwork and data assessment. We are deeply indebted to all the informants who willingly shared time and information with us. This work would not have been possible without fishers, fisher wives, scientists, managers, factory owners, and others being so forthcoming. Thanks to them all!


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Social AnthropologyUniversity of BergenBergenNorway
  2. 2.Department of Labor Economics and Industrial RelationsKocaeli UniversityKocaeliTurkey

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