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Durham University

Department of Anthropology

Academic Staff

Publication details for Professor Kate Hampshire

Hampshire, K., Bell, S., Wallace, G. & Stepukonis, F. (2004). 'Real' poachers and predators: shades of meaning in local understandings of threats to fisheries. Society & Natural Resources 17(4): 305-318.

Author(s) from Durham


This article explores the idea of multiple and contested notions of nature, natural resource management, and the implications for local involvement with conservation, within the context of attitudes toward poachers and other predators of fish in the Nemunas Delta area of Lithuania. Qualitative research methods are used to elicit local understandings of threats to fishing livelihoods and to unravel the ambiguities surrounding people's perceptions of, and attitudes toward, competitors for fish: human (poachers) and nonhuman (predators of fish, primarily birds). Neither poachers nor predators are classified as a simple category, unequivocally "bad" or threatening. Rather, poaching and predation are represented by a multidimensional spectrum of acceptability based not only on the perceived threat to fish stocks but also on a sense of aesthetics, fairness, and identity. We conclude by examining the implications of this work for natural resource management, both in Lithuania and elsewhere.