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Salmon, sensors, and translation: The agency of Big Data in environmental governance


Ascui, F and Haward, M and Lovell, H, Salmon, sensors, and translation: The agency of Big Data in environmental governance, Environment and Planning D: Society and Space, 36, (5) pp. 905-925. ISSN 0263-7758 (2018) [Refereed Article]


Copyright Statement

Copyright The Author(s) 2018. Licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0)

DOI: doi:10.1177/0263775818766892


This paper explores the emerging role of Big Data in environmental governance. We focus on the case of salmon aquaculture management from 2011 to 2017 in Macquarie Harbour, Australia, and compare this with the foundational case that inspired the development of the concept of ‘translation’ in actor-network theory, that of scallop domestication in St Brieuc Bay, France, in the 1970s. A key difference is the salience of environmental data in the contemporary case. Recent dramatic events in the environmental governance of Macquarie Harbour have been driven by increasing spatial and temporal resolution of environmental monitoring, including real-time data collection from sensors mounted on the fish themselves. The resulting environmental data now takes centre stage in increasingly heated debates over how the harbour should be managed: overturning long-held assumptions about environmental interactions, inducing changes in regulatory practices and institutions, fracturing historical alliances and shaping the on-going legitimacy of the industry. Environmental Big Data is now a key actor within the networks that constitute and enact environmental governance. Given its new and unpredictable agency, control over access to data is likely to become critical in future power struggles over environmental resources and their governance

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:Big Data, environmental governance, actor-network theory, translation, salmon, aquaculture
Research Division:Human Society
Research Group:Sociology
Research Field:Sociology and social studies of science and technology
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - aquaculture
Objective Field:Aquaculture fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Ascui, F (Dr Francisco Ascui)
UTAS Author:Haward, M (Professor Marcus Haward)
UTAS Author:Lovell, H (Professor Heather Lovell)
ID Code:126913
Year Published:2018
Web of Science® Times Cited:16
Deposited By:Office of the School of Social Sciences
Deposited On:2018-07-02
Last Modified:2022-08-29
Downloads:95 View Download Statistics

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