Nordic Fisheries in Transition

Future Challenges to Management and Recruitment

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In the last decades Nordic countries have been implementing quota markets and similar instruments to manage mainly the economic performance of their fisheries. Coming from a historical situation dominated by owner-operated fishing units closely connected to their supporting communities, market-based fisheries management plays a role in promoting company-organised fishing units, non-fisher ownership and new social relations. Introducing market-mechanisms to distribute the limited marine resources is therefore not just a change in the technical regulation. It is an active engagement in social change. The publication reviews the Nordic experiences with market-based fisheries management and discusses the implications for managers and future recruitment.




This report explores the role of market-based fisheries management in the current transformation of Nordic fisheries and societies. The main focus of this report is on the social dynamics and social aspects of fisheries management. Based on a review of the Nordic experiences with quota markets and quota transferability, the report examines and discusses some of the changing relations between fishers, management, fishing sector and society. Throughout its history, Nordic fisheries have been dynamic and developed through the use of changing technologies and through internal competition and cooperation. Similarly, the fishing sector’s relation to state and society has been changing – shifting in the recent century from a state focus on economic expansion over a focus on scientific resource conservation to the current focus on economic performance.


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