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Feeding fish efficiently. Mobilising knowledge in Tasmanian salmon farming* 


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    An early version of this paper was first presented at the panel ‘Food, science and anthropology’ at the ASA Decennial Conference in Manchester, July 2003. The author would like to thank informants involved in Tasmanian salmon farming for generously sharing their time and knowledge, and Keith Hart for the kind provision of retreat to a Paris attic. Ben Campbell, Marit Melhuus, Anne Magnussøn, Clive Talbot, Sunil Kadri and Sylvi Endresen have provided constructive comments, but the responsibility for conclusions rests, as always, with the author alone. The project was funded by the Norwegian Research Council through the research programme ‘Transnational Flows of Concepts and Substances’ based at the Department of Social Anthropology, University of Oslo.


How do certain forms of knowledge become globally mobile? Focusing on Tasmanian salmon farming, this article addresses the negotiation of locally situated knowledge against the persuasive power of universalising expertise. It is argued that intensive salmon farming relies upon techno-scientific regimes of production in which the universality of salmon as biogenetic artefact is already inscribed. Intensive salmon farming thus lends itself well to the need for legibility and abstract calculations of large-scale capitalism. The alliance between scientific and economic interests pushes towards greater technological sophistication, and, in turn, towards a standardisation of salmon as a global universal artefact.