SotF 2016 – Leslie Mabon – Building a Boat of Confidence: Fishing after Fukushima

Wednesday 17 August 2016, 7:50 pm - 8:50 pm
At: Banshee Labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


In this talk Leslie will discuss an aspect of the 2011 Fukushima nuclear disaster that has received comparatively little international attention – its effect on the area’s fisheries. Full-scale coastal fisheries have been stopped in Fukushima Prefecture since the accident due to ongoing concerns over the effects of radiation on the region’s marine produce. Prior to the disaster, fisheries were not only a big part of the economy on Fukushima’s coast, but also a major source of local pride and identity. The stoppage of fisheries has therefore had far-reaching effects for fishing communities in the region. This demonstrates how disasters are social as well as technical and scientific issues.

Based on research he has been undertaking with fishers, fisheries researchers and local governors in Fukushima Prefecture since 2014, he talk about how local fisheries cooperatives are working to restart fisheries by assessing radiation risk and rebuilding consumer trust. He will also speak more generally about how we can generate robust and rigorous results from qualitative social science research, and how this can best integrate with the underpinning physical science.

Dr Mabon is a Lecturer in Sociology at Robert Gordon University in Aberdeen. His research focuses on the relationship between people and the environment, and he is particularly interested in thinking through how and why different people come to understand risks or uncertainties differently. He is very much interested in working alongside scholars from other disciplines – especially the physical sciences – to consider how our society can best respond to the environmental issues it faces. His main research area at the moment is fisheries in Fukushima, Japan, after the 2011 nuclear accident – but he is also working on the future of the North Sea as the oil industry matures, and is starting to look at responses to climate change in emerging economies.

Find out more at or by following him on twitter @ljmabon

Skeptics on the Fringe is proud to be part of PBH’s Free Fringe. Our talks are free and unticketed, so come early to the Free Fringe’s spoken word hub at the Banshee Labyrinth to be sure of a seat.

We have a different topic every day, bringing science, reason and critical thinking to the largest arts festival in the world.

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