Power, politics, and culture of marine conservation technology in fisheries

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1 Scopus citations


The term conservation technology is applied widely and loosely to any technology connected to conservation. This overly broad understanding can lead to confusion around the actual mechanisms of conservation in a technological system, which can result in neglect and underdevelopment of the human dimensions of conservation technology. Ultimately, this hinders its effectiveness as technological fixes for conservation problems. Through a process of concept mapping based on key case studies and literature, I devised precise definitions of marine conservation technology and technological marine conservation system. Concerns about the use of marine conservation technologies included unintended consequences, halfway technologies that address the symptoms but not the causes of problems, and misguided techno-optimism (i.e., technology is a panacea that can solve any problem). Technology and technological systems can have power, politics, and culture, and these characteristics can influence the contextual fit of a technology, requiring that technology be thoughtfully created or adapted to the circumstances in which it will be used. Power, politics, and culture inherent in technology can also influence the distribution of conservation risks and benefits and potentially widen gaps in wealth, privilege, opportunities, and justice. Addressing these concerns can potentially be achieved through the better integration of social sciences in marine conservation technology and technological marine conservation system design and development and the application of the social-ecological-technological systems framework. This framework melds key concepts from the socioecological systems framework and science and technology studies. It recognizes as and elevates technology to be a central actor that can shape societies and the natural world. Such a framework incorporates broader understanding, so that the values and concerns of society are more effectively addressed in the creation and implementation of marine conservation technologies and technological marine conservation systems.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere13855
JournalConservation Biology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jun 2022


  • arreglos tecnológicos
  • bycatch reduction devices
  • dimensiones humanas
  • dimensiones sociales
  • dispositivos de reducción de la captura incidental
  • estudios científicos y tecnológicos
  • human dimensions
  • science and technology studies
  • sistemas socio-ecológicos
  • sistemas socio-ecológicos-tecnológicos
  • sistemas tecnológicos
  • social-ecological systems
  • social-ecological-technological systems
  • societal dimensions
  • technological fixes
  • technological systems

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology
  • Nature and Landscape Conservation


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