My research interests include resource governance within fisheries and coastal landscape in Global South. In my PhD (defended in 2018), I explored how urbanisation have influenced lives and livelihoods of small-scale fishers, and how the coastal landscape (water-land nexus) is understood and contested in India. In my current project, I expand my focus to global fisheries governance, by exploring how labour rights has become an emerging standard for multi-actors (state and non-state) in influencing how fisheries’ supply chains are governed.
My research is informed by critical engagements with (urban) political ecology, global environmental governance, labour-rights and critical geography.
International Rural Development and (LU0086), Natural Resource Governance (LU0093), Lokala perspektiv (LU0097)
2020-2022: Sweatshops at sea: Labour reform in the Thai seafood supply chain via hybrid global governance (Formas funded project)
This project investigates the implementation of hybrid global governance in the Thai seafood supply chain focusing on labour standards. The project will carry out together with Associate Professor Miriam Wilhelm (University of Groningen) and Professor Peter Vandergeest (York University).
The Thai seafood supply chain has been significantly reformed in recent years in response to multiple EU, civil society and private sector initiatives. The reform process attempts to solve the vicious circle between environmental sustainability versus labour conditions: as fish catches diminish boats are forced to venture ever further out to sea driving up costs which may need to be recovered by relying on exploitable migrant fishworkers. The outcome of the reform process is a combination of formally binding laws, supply chain standards and operational codes in a complex hybrid global governance approach to sustainable fisheries. How multiple initiatives under different domestic and international regulations, standards and best practices will function in practical regulation remains unclear however. Thailand forms a crucial case in new approaches to global sustainability governance as social and environmental criteria become interlinked. This can help us understand how an international sector beset by long-running challenges may transform in the future.
2019 - 2021: Modern slavery in fisheries: EU-led policy on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices in Thai fishing industry (VR funded project)
Thailand, ranked fourth in seafood exporter in the world, came under the spotlight in 2014, when numbers of international media exposed how fishworkers, often migrant labourers, have been trafficked, abused and had to work in bad working conditions with irregular payment on Thai fishing boats. The international scandal influenced the European Union in 2015 to give a yellow card, a warning indicating possible economic sanctions unless Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices are eliminated in Thailand. The coming together of labour rights and sustainability in EU’s imposition of reform in Thailand indicates an expanded approach to long-running sustainability challenges in fisheries.
This research project ‘Sustaining fish and fishworkers? Human rights for migrant Burmese fishworkers in the EU-initiated sustainable fisheries reform in Thailand’ aims to understand how EU’s fishing policy, as a global governance mechanism, addresses both sustainability and human rights using Thailand’s fisheries reform as empirical case. Working closly with Associate Professor Sebastian Linke (GU) and Professor Than Pale (Yangon University), the project will carry out in-depth studies in two sites, Thailand and Myanmar.
The northern Indian Ocean region, incorporating the Bay of Bengal and the Andaman and Laccadive Seas, can be seen as an understudied marine transcultural borderland. This project aims to build a transdisciplinary ‘Southern Collective’ of natural and social scientists, and non-academic experts to address societal and environmental problems facing coastal communities in this region. Our collective will undertake activities to address two broad climate and livelihood related themes for interdisciplinary research, namely transboundary coastal and marine resources, and forced migration and adaptation. The Southern Collective will co-create digital learning modalities in order to re-center local knowledge around these themes. We will also create a web-based portal to facilitate grassroots public engagement and democratize knowledge generation in and for the region. This one year planning project is funded by the Social Science Research Council.
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Marschke, M., Vandergeest, P., Havice, E., Kadfak, A., Duker, P., Isopescu, I., & MacDonnell, M. 2020. COVID-19, instability and migrant fish workers in Asia, Maritime Studies.
Wilhelm, M., Kadfak, A., Phakoo, V., and K., Skattang. 2020. Private governance of human and labour rights in seafood supply chain chains – The case of the ‘modern slavery’ scandal in Thailand. Marine Policy
Kadfak, A & Oskarsson, P. 2020. An Urban Political Ecology approach to small-scale fisheries in the Global South. Geoforum, 108, 237-245 (open access).
Kadfak, A. 2019. More than just fishing: The formation of livelihood strategies in an urban fishing community in Mangaluru, India. Journal of Development Studies (Online access 8 August 2019)
Kadfak, A. 2018. Fishing from the Shore: Exploring coastal transformations and changing life opportunities in an urban fishing community of India. PhD Thesis. University of Gothenburg.
Kadfak, A. 2018. Intermediary Politics in a Peri-Urban Village in Mangaluru, India. Forum for Development Studies, 46 (2), 277-298.
Kadfak, A., and Oskarsson, P. 2017. The shifting sands of land governance in peri-urban Mangaluru, India: fluctuating land as an ‘informality machine’ reinforcing rapid coastl transformations. Contemporary South Asia, 25(4), 399 - 414.
Turner, L. M., Bhatta, R., Eriander, L., Gipperth, L., Johannesson, K., Kadfak, A., . . . Laas, K. (2017). Transporting ideas between marine and social sciences: experiences from interdisciplinary research programs. Elem Sci Anth, 5.
Kadfak A and Knutsson P. 2017. Investigating the Waterfront: The Entangled Sociomaterial Transformations of Coastal Space in Karnataka, India. Society & Natural Resources, 30(6), 707-722.
Bennett, N., Kadfak, A. & Dearden, P. 2016. Community-based scenario planning: A process for vulnerability analysis and adaptation planning to social-ecological change in coastal communities. Environment, Development and Sustainability, 18(6), 1771-1799.
Bennett, N. J., P. Dearden, G. Murray and A. Kadfak. 2014. The capacity to adapt?: communities in changing climate, environment, and economy on the northern Andaman coast of Thailand. Ecology and Society, 19 (2), 5.
BOBLME (2012). Scoping study on migrant fishers and transboundary fishing in the Bay of Bengal. Report prepared for the Bay of Bengal Large Marine Ecosystem Project. 98 pp. (First author)
Conference presentations & papers (selected)
Kadfak, A., Sebastian, L., & T., Pale. 2019. Standard mode of governance?: EU IUU policy in Thailand. Presentation at People & the Sea Conference X, University of Amsterdam, 24 - 28 June, 2019.
Kadfak, A. & Oskarsson, P. 2018. The shifting sands of land governance in peri-urban Mangaluru, India. Presentation at South Asia Across the Nordic Region 2nd annual meeting, University of Oslo, 5-6 June, 2018.
Kadfak, A. 2018. Sustaining fish and fishworkers? The inclusion of human rights in EU-initiated sustainable fisheries reform in Thailand. Presentation at a conference on East Asia Research: "What's in it for Sweden?" organized by Institute for Security & Development Policy, Gothenburg, 26-27 April 2018
Kadfak, A. 2014. Using assemblage concept to unpack waterfront transformations in an urban Indian waterfront. Presentation at The RBS-IBG Annual International Conference 2014, London, UK, 27-29 August, 2014.
Kadfak, A. & Bennett, N. 2012. Migrant Fishers and Transboundary Fishing in the Bay of Bengal: The Issues, Proposed Solutions, and a Research Prospectus. Presentation at International Conference on Fisheries and Marine Science, Negombo, Sri Lanka, 23-24 August 2012.
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