The project “Future effects of structuring on sea and land” reveals that structural policy entails a large political responsibility. Photo: Emil Bremnes © Nofima

Project Year 2018

Effects of structural policy

 Industrial economics  

Broad knowledge is needed to understand the consequences of the structural changes in the Norwegian fisheries industry at sea and on land.

From the FHF project “Future effects of structuring on sea and land” much has been learned, but there are still many unanswered questions.

Political challenges

“The background for the project was uncertainty about the consequences of structural measures. We provide knowledge about the underlying driving forces and consequences of structuring. Models that predict the impact of changes in the structuring systems produce knowledge that can be used to adjust the capacity adaptation systems,” explains research director Bent Dreyer.
The project has resulted in two reports – on structuring in the fleet and structural changes in the processing industry. Both reports highlight political challenges related to how, how much and how quickly the fishing fleet should be allowed to structure itself.

The systems work

Important arguments for structuring include overcapacity, poor profitability, and low wages. And structuring works. Changes include fewer vessels and slightly lower capacity, higher operating margins, and higher catch shares for crews. Other aspects are harder to quantify, such as better working conditions and greater job security.

However, there are also challenges: “In the report we point out how fleet structure and landing patterns impact the industry. Fewer vessels and fewer landings contribute to fewer processing plants. As the vessels become larger, the industry also needs to increase its capacity. This means that while some companies grow, others will find that they cannot keep up in the race for raw materials and will close,” says Nofima scientist Audun Iversen.
The result will be fewer, but larger onshore plants and fewer communities with fish-processing.
“Structural policy thus entails a heavy political responsibility, requiring expert knowledge and conscious political choices,” says Bent Dreyer.

University of Stavanger and IRIS

The Norwegian Seafood Research Fund - FHF

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