Small-Scale Fisheries Governance in Norway: Hierarchy, Institutions and Markets

  • Jahn Petter JohnsenEmail author
Part of the MARE Publication Series book series (MARE, volume 23)


Small-scale fisheries are highly relevant in Norway. Until 1989, small-scale fisheries were open access and, like other Norwegian fisheries, subsidised; since then they have changed radically. The closure of major fisheries in the early 1990s, following collapses in important stocks and the removal of direct subsidies, has affected fisheries of all sizes. Societal changes have also had an impact on Norwegian small-scale fisheries. There have been changes to the welfare state and the adoption of strategies designed to make the fishing industry ecologically and economically sustainable. These have contributed to new developments in fishing technology and practices and altered the social organisation of fisheries. Although Norwegian fisheries’ policy has focused on the structural adaptation of the fishing fleet and economic efficiency, it has also attempted to protect the small-scale fishing fleet, originally defined as vessels under 11 m in length. This has meant that the national fisheries’ policy framework, though focusing on sustainability and profitability, has allowed small-scale fishing to survive both as a part-time activity and a full-time profession, and ensured its full integration into the fishing industry. This chapter presents the background to this situation and describes important drivers behind these changes in Norwegian small-scale fisheries and concludes with some lessons that can be learnt from developments in Norway.


Norway Small-scale fisheries Governance Institutions Mandated Sales Organisations 



I thank the skipper who allowed me to go to sea with him, answered my many questions and allowed me to record and take pictures for use in research and teaching. Grants from the Norwegian College of Fishery Science and the Norwegian Research Council project nr. 267566) made it possible to finish the chapter during my sabbatical in 2016/17. Thanks also to Dr. Nadine Marshall and the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation (CSIRO) in Townsville, Australia and Professor Barbara Neis and the Memorial University of Newfoundland who provided me with work space and technical support during my sabbatical. Finally, I thank the anonymous reviewers and editors for their comments and Proof-Reading-Services for copyediting.


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© Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Norwegian College of Fishery ScienceUiT- the Arctic University of NorwayTromsøNorway

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