Why have sea creatures plummeted in size and number, if experts have at
their disposal sophisticated techniques to count and predict them, whether tuna, cod,
dolphin, or whale? This article conducts a literature review centered on a native category
that dominates discourse in marine conservation—stock—by emphasizing the
word’s double meaning as both asset and population. It illuminates how a word so
commonplace enables the distancing metrics of numerical abstractions to be imposed
on living beings for the production of biowealth. By tracking the rise of quantitative
expertise, the reader comes to know stock as a referent long aligned with the sovereign
preoccupation of managing wealth and society, culminating in the mathematical model
recruited today as the principal tool of authority among technocratic elites. Under the
prevailing conditions of valuation, the object of marine conservation has become not a
fish as being but a biological asset as stock.
If the inline PDF is not rendering correctly, you can download the PDF file here.