Encounters in the ebb and flood: knowing marine ecologies in the intertidal contact zone

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Shifting rhythmically between land and sea with the ebb and flood tides, shores are places where humans and nonhumans encounter one another in ambivalent relations of deep familiarity and enduring strangeness. Building on Pratt (1991, 2008), I use the space of the intertidal contact zone here to think through a series of uneven encounters between humans and marine wildlife that populate a dispute over tidal energy testing in the Bay of Fundy’s Minas Passage. I trace two contact zones through which knowledge about marine wildlife in the Bay of Fundy is generated: first, the contact zone continually (re-)assembled through the encounters of small-scale and traditional fishers with marine wildlife. Second, the contact zone staged in remote encounters between marine scientists and marine wildlife. The article reflects on the role of bodies in and out of encounter in the different ways of knowing about marine wildlife in this case and considers ethical possibilities and limits of knowing through, versus without, contact with nonhuman animals in the intertidal contact zone.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)761-780
JournalEnvironment and Planning E: Nature and Space
Issue number4
Early online date1 Oct 2019
Publication statusPublished - 2019


  • Embodied knowledge, encounter, more-than-human contact zone, tidal ecology, tidal energy


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