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Explaining the decline in Swedish Baltic Sea small-scale fisheries: A historical analysis of fishers in their  social and ecological context
Stockholm University, Stockholm Resilience Centre.
2013 (English)Independent thesis Advanced level (degree of Master (Two Years)), 40 credits / 60 HE creditsStudent thesis
Abstract [en]

Swedish fisheries, as many other European fisheries are characterized by overcapacity. Efforts trying to reduce the overcapacity have led to fewer but bigger vessels. Hence, fish catches are aggregated among fewer and fewer fishers with bigger and bigger boats while problems with overcapacity remain. Instead, it is the fishers with smaller vessels that faced major declines and the Swedish Baltic Sea small-scale fisheries (SSF) have been identified to soon disappear. A disappearance would be unfortunate because SSF represent values that could be used in the development towards more ecological and social sustainable fisheries. The decline of SSF appears to be structural persistent, produced by factors interacting over time. To address the negative trend, it is essential to know how and why the decline became structural persistent. The objective of this study is therefore to investigate the long-term historical development of the SSF as a social-ecological system. A mixed-method approach was used to assess and identify interactions between fishers and contextual factors over time. The results show how the decline became structurally persistent in 1960s after a conjunction in time where fishers’ livelihood became more dependent upon fisheries while fish abundance started to decline. After the conjunction fishers became trapped within a system where social and ecological contextual factors constrained their fishing practices. This thesis provides new insights on the difficult situation in which SSF are currently trapped. These insights can be used for future development of Swedish fisheries, which needs to move away from increased economic optimization and instead enhance long-term sustainability.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2013. , 50 p.
Keyword [en]
Swedish Baltic Sea small-scale fisheries, social-ecological contexts, fishers’ adaptability
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-91119OAI: diva2:630884
Available from: 2013-07-11 Created: 2013-06-19 Last updated: 2013-07-11Bibliographically approved

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