A grant of £179,312 from the Leverhulme Trust means that Professor Corey Ross of the School of History and Cultures will research and write the first history of the international effort to develop fisheries in the global South during the ‘long 20th Century’ (1870s to present).

‘Blue Revolution’ will investigate how empires, nation-states, NGOs, and local peoples transferred and adopted fishing and processing practices from the industrial world, the impacts this had on aquatic environments and littoral communities, and the role of different groups in driving or opposing the changes that this entailed. Situating varied case studies within an imperial and global framework, Professor Ross will:

  • Unearth the links between the many players that together sought to exploit and manage aquatic ecosystems in the interests of economic growth and food security,
  • Explain how the intensifying management of seas, lakes and fisheries fits into the wider history of development and overseas aid strategies throughout the 20th century,
  • Understand how and why the emergence of increasingly universal forms of fishery knowledge and practice played out in different local contexts,
  • Enrich the history of development by considering the extent to which chronologies and theories hitherto applied to land-based policies and interventions were also relevant to water-based initiatives,
  • Expand the history of development in two dimensions: widening it beyond metropolitan perspectives, and deepening it by transcending colonial/post-colonial divides; and,
  • Bring the history of development into closer dialogue with environmental history by demonstrating how biophysical environments fundamentally shaped, and were shaped by, international development efforts.

By detailing the history of these processes within the frameworks of late colonialism, the Cold War and decolonisation, the project will provide a timely historical perspective on present-day initiatives to develop capture-fisheries and aquaculture, and the complex socio-ecological impacts that accompany them.