Neoliberal Niagara?

Besek, Jordan Fox.  “Neoliberal Niagara? The Political History of Fish Consumption Advisories in New York State.” Environment and Planning D: Society and Space 33 (2): 281-295.


Fish consumption advisories (FCAs), or voluntary state recommendations for foraging and consuming fish from compromised waters, place the onus of negotiating contaminated environments squarely upon individuals who consume local fish. As a result, peoples who eat fish caught from local waters for reasons of food insecurity, cultural practice, or religious practice are ignored, producing environmental inequalities. This paper examines the political history of FCAs in a specific geographical context, New York State, in order to assess the explicit environmental governance frameworks through which these inequalities are generated. It demonstrates that FCA policy is principally an outgrowth of a conservation movement geared towards support for recreational anglers and not those who fish for subsistence. However, conservationism is not the only governance framework at work, as this paper also demonstrates that commercialized processes of neoliberal environmental governance substantially mediate scientific data that inform FCA recommendations. In this way this study illustrates how multiple frameworks—conservationist, neoliberal, or other—can, and often do, intertwine to construct environmental policies.