Hekia Bodwitch

Ph.D Candidate

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University of California, Berkeley, Environmental Science, Policy and Management, Ph.D candidate: present.

University of Canterbury, Christchurch, New Zealand, Ngai Tahu Research Centre, Visiting Fellow: 2014-2015.

Cornell University, Biology and Society, Bachelor's of Science: 2005-2009.

University of Otago, Maori Studies, Student Exchange: 2007.

Research Interests

Sustainable fishing, social movements & capitalism; Indigeneity, race & neoliberalism; State natural resource management & indigenous rights

Research Description

Impacts of Transferable Quota Markets & Customary Management Areas on Fishery Sustainability & Indigenous Development in New Zealand

Overfishing threatens ocean ecosystems and economies. To encourage marine biodiversity protection without restricting commercial activities, governments are creating new quota based property rights that are designed to curb commercial fishing pressure without stifling economic exchange. Over ten percent of the world’s fisheries are currently managed by quota systems, a percentage that increases each year. Yet, who should get quota and how quota markets should be regulated, remains unclear.

My research examines how quota management systems influence the ecological and economic development of fisheries and fishing communities.  I use ethnographic methods and quantitative analysis of fishery catch data to examine the role that colonial histories, indigenous identities, knowledge, technology and access to markets each play in influencing how people engage with fisheries development. To do this, I look to New Zealand, where the world’s first nationally comprehensive quota system was implemented in 1986, with legally mandated provisions for quota to be allocated to indigenous tribes. Today, Maori own over 40 percent of the nation’s fishing quota, making New Zealand an important case through which to examine barriers and opportunities for more equitable distribution of the ecological and economic benefits of quota regulation.

By examining how people engage with fisheries when access to commercial markets is restricted by quota rights, I explore reasons why individuals do not always act as the rational economic actor that fisheries rationalization advocates require for their models of industry-led sustainable development. In doing so, my work contributes to broader debates over the extent to which market-based conservation initiatives, including quota markets for fisheries and carbon cap-and-trade programs, incentivize sustainable environmental practices. Through my reserach I aim to enhance our understanding of market-based conservation by expanding upon the economic assumption that quota and total allowable catch reduction limits set by government are the driving force behind fisheries development, and that the market is the best mechanism to encourage environmental sustainability and economic growth.

My work provides critical information about the management of marine fisheries for economic growth and biodiversity. My results are useful to fisheries experts and people involved in community and indigenous economic development, including in the United States, where fisheries are increasingly being managed under quota systems that stipulate quota to be allocated to indigenous tribes.

Selected Publications

Bodwitch, Hekia. 2014. “Why Feminism? What Insights from Feminists tell us about “Giving Back” through Research,” Journal of Research Practice, special edition on “Giving Back,” Gupta, C. and Kelly, A. (eds).

Bodwitch, Hekia, Tun Lin Moe, Anna Read, Natalie Thomson, Courtney Wallace. 2008. “Building Local Food Systems in the Finger Lakes Region,” Publication of the Eco Agricultural Working Group at Cornell University. http://ecoag.cals.cornell.edu/publications.html.

Honors and Awards

NSF Doctoral Dissertation Research Improvement Grant, SBE, 2014-2015

NSF East Asian and Pacific Summer Institute, 2014

Edward A. Coleman Fellowship in Water Management, UC Berkeley, 2013

Social Science Research Council, Doctoral Dissertation Development Fellowship, Global Indigenous Politics, 2011

Human Rights Fellowship, UC Berkeley, 2011

Center for Race and Gender Studies Research Grant, UC Berkeley, 2010


Recent Teaching

University of California, Berkeley:

ESPM 375: Professional Preparation, Teaching in ESPM, Fall 2014, Fall 2015

ESPM 155: Sociology of Natural Resources, Louise Fortmann Fall 2012

ESPM 168: Political Ecology, Nancy Peluso Fall 2011 (Nominated for Outstanding GSI Award)

ESPM 151: Society, Environment and Culture, Kimberly TallBear Fall 2011

ESPM 50 AC: Culture and Natural Resource Management, Kurt Spreyer Fall 2010

Contact Information

Email: hekiabodwitch@berkeley.edu

Office: 341 Giannini Hall

Office Phone: +1 315-567-9743

Research Group(s)

Mailing Address

Dept of Environmental Science, Policy, & Management
UC Berkeley
130 Mulford Hall #3114
Berkeley, CA 94720