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Alin Kadfak

Alin Kadfak
I am a researcher at the Department of Rural and Urban Development. My current research explores labour rights in sustainable fishing policy and seafood supply chains.


Check out: project website Justseafood.orgLinkedIn : Fishy Work Podcast

My research interests are resource governance, labour rights/precarity, migration, ethical food systems, policy discourses, supply chains and development in the fisheries sector. I am  currently working on projects invole around unacceptable work and resource governance in the fisheries sector in Southeast Asia.

I am avaliable to supervise master students who are interested working on the topics of our current projects (see below). We are also looking for internship. Please contact me if you are looking to engage with vibrant research environment! 


PhD courses: 

Master degree courses (at SLU):

International rural development, Natural resource governance, Lokala perspektiv, Rurality livelihood and gender, Global food system


2024 - 2026: Tracing the double negative: Marine ecologies and worker precarity in Southeast Asian trash fish supply chains (VR funded project, PI)

In collaboration with Peter Vandergeest, Melissa Marschke, Tong Thi Hai Hanh & Chanrith Ngin

Trash fish, also known as forage fish or low value fish, are a critical ingredient in animal feed, and are often caught unsustainably. Despite its importance for resiliency and ocean ecologies, we know very little about it. This project aims to develop a novel empirical approach, in that it will be based on data produced through working with supply chain participants, including fish workers and pre-processing workers, in mainland Southeast Asia, with a focus on Thailand and Vietnam. We approach our research question: how do trash fish supply chains impact marine resource depletion and worker precarity?, through a proposed ‘double negative framework’. We build this framework out by drawing on three bodies of literature: supply chain analysis, ecological resilience studies, and labour precarity to comprehend the complex narratives of trash fish in Southeast Asia. Using trash fish as methodological object to trace both the stage of the ocean and the working conditions of workers, this project will engage with broader policy implications for government authorities and policy makers in coastal states where trash fish is caught, as well as private actors responsible for supply chain sustainability. See 

2024 - 2027: Who caught my fish?: Can traceability systems stop labour rights violations in fisheries? (Formas funded project, PI)

In collaboration with Peter Vandergeest, Melissa Marschke & Tong Thi Hai Hanh

Global fisheries governance faces two major sustainabilitychallenges: how to ensure seafood products are ‘green’ and how to make them ‘ethical’. Seafood is one of the most traded commodities globally, with particularlylong and difficult to trace supplychains. Fishing vessels are also the most dangerous workplace in the world, due to storms, accidents, handling dangerous equipment on a moving boat, and worker exhaustion due to long working hours and time at sea.
While traceabilitysystems show promise to ensure green seafood products, theyare no labels or certificates to ensure decent work in the fishing sector. Onlyrecentlyhas the EU passed a MandatoryHuman Rights and Environmental Due Diligence Law (mHREDD) to shape sustainable and responsible corporate behavior, byrequiring compliance with human rights standards, including labour rights, throughout global value chains. This project will take a novel approach to investigate the potential of mHREDD law in addressing labour rights in seafood supplychains, using Vietnam as case study. Our work will build theoryand evidence on how improved working conditions of fish workers mayachieve through the involvement of port-based actors, as a counterpart to the top-down policyfrom EU. Consequently, we contribute to development of ‘just and sustainable economy’ byshowing how law-binding of state intervention can potentiallyshape cooperate behaviour to reach ethical and environmental sustainabilitygoals. See 

2020-2025 (with extension): Sweatshops at sea: Labour reform in the Thai seafood supply chain via hybrid global governance (Formas funded project, PI)

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 Professor Miriam Wilhelm and Professor Peter Vandergeest.

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.

Completed projects

2019 - 2021: Modern slavery in fisheries: EU-led policy on Illegal, Unreported and Unregulated (IUU) fishing practices in Thai fishing industry (VR funded project, PI)

In collaboration with Sebastian Linke (GU) and Professor Than Pale (Yangon University)

2020 - 2021: Proposal to Develop a ‘Southern Collective’ for Transdisciplinary Collaborations on the Northern Indian Ocean

Welcome to follow our twitter @southcollect


Möller, Anton, 2021. The power in Cooperation : a study of Cards, Vietnam and the EU. (Master in Rural Development and Natural Resource Management, Dept. of Urban and Rural Developmen, SLU)

García Aguilar, Mónica Carlota, 2020. Assessing the governance capacity to implement resource-oriented sanitation and waste management systems in urban areas of Latin America and the Caribbean : a case study of the town of Chía, Colombia. (European Master in Environmental Science, Dept. of Urban and Rural Developmen, SLU)

Selected publications

Journal Articles

Kadfak, A. 2024. Labour in Fisheries Through Migration Studies: Burmese Fish Worker Regularisation and Agency in the Thai Fishing Industry. Geopolitics. Open Access.

Wilhelm, M., Bhakoo, V., Soundararajan, V., Crane, A., & Kadfak, A. 2023. Beyond compliance-based governance: The role of social intermediaries in mitigating forced labor in global supply chains. Production and Operations Management.

Kadfak, A., Barclay, K., & Song, A. M. 2023. EU Trade-Related Measures against Illegal Fishing Policy Diffusion and Effectiveness in Thailand and Australia. Book series: Routledge Focus on Environment and Sustainability (open access).

Kadfak, A., Wilhelm, M., & Oskarsson, P. 2023. Thai Labour NGOs during the ‘Modern Slavery’Reforms: NGO Transitions in a Post‐aid World. Development and Change. 

Kadfak, A & Widengård, M. 2022. From fish to fishworker traceability in Thai fisheries reform. Env Planning E

Kadfak, A & Antonova, A. 2021. Sustainable networks?: Modes of governance in the EU’s external fisheries policy relations under the IUU Regulation in Thailand and the SFPA with Senegal. Marine Policy

Kadfak, A & Linke, S. 2021. Labour implications of the EU’s illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing policy in Thailand. Marine Policy.

Gonda, N & the collective 2021. Critical Reflexivity in Political Ecology Research: How Can the Coronavirus Pandemic Transform Us into Better Researchers?. Frontiers in Human Dynamics, 3, 41.

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

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)

Public Commentary

Radio interview: with Dr.Vong-on Phuaphansawat on the progress of Thailand fisheries reform at Chula radio (11.05-11.30)

Blog: Protecting migrant fishworkers’ rights at sea: The double-edge sword of traceability

Podcast: Sea Control 294 – EU Fisheries Governance with Dr. Anna Antonova

Blog: Looking for clues: COVID-19 and “Facebook fieldwork” with cross-border Burmese migrants

Blog: Can charcoal business be sustainable? Examples, challenges and opportunities in Africa

Blog: Migrant workers may be caught between the devil and the deep blue sea during the COVID-19 crisis

Blog: Who pays the price for cheap seafood?

Blog: Sustainable fish farming? Yeast and flies come to the rescue

Blog: Cross-disciplinary approaches: The ‘Must have’ tools to work with complexity


Welcome to follow my personal Twitter @Alin_Kadfak account


Researcher at the Department of Urban and Rural Development; Division of Rural Development
Postal address:
Inst för stad och land, Box 7012
Visiting address: Ulls väg 27, Uppsala