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Is Growing Larger the Same as Becoming Resilient? A case study of the Gothenburg Pelagic Offshore Fishery
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Scale enlargement and increased use of market mechanisms to improve fisheries’ management are a trend in many fisheries. These developments have economic benefits, but can also lead to loss of social-ecological knowledge, resilience, and employment opportunities in fishing communities. Successful large-scale fishers who have access to quotas benefit from these trends, but they also risk ending up in a lock-in, where a high degree of specialisation of fishing activities makes them vulnerable to economic and ecological fluctuation. Economic theory explains scale enlargement as an effect of economies of scale, but it cannot explain why these effects occur for certain groups of fishers and not for others. This study addresses this knowledge gap by exploring a small group of pelagic offshore fishers in Gothenburg, Sweden, who stand out in terms of their scale enlargement, profitability and political influence. Recently they also contributed to a change of management system towards increased use of economic management tools (Individual Transferable Quotas, ITQs). Using interviews with actors within and outside the pelagic offshore fishery, combined with participant observations, I describe a number of factors that can explain the Swedish development towards scale enlargement. Important for this development, it seems, is the fishers’ ‘entrepreneurial spirit’ and flexibility towards changing conditions. These are qualities that, in turn, have been supported by different contextual factors including abundant pelagic stocks, regulatory changes and a supportive community culture. Understanding the interaction between fishers’ activities and contextual developments can highlight why, and how, different development trajectories emerge in fisheries.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 49 p.
Keyword [en]
Resilience, large-scale fishery, social-ecological system, Individual Transferable Quotas (ITQs), structuration, agency.
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91114OAI: diva2:630871
Available from: 2013-07-11 Created: 2013-06-19 Last updated: 2013-07-11Bibliographically approved

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