Employment numbers unchanged

The decline in employment numbers in the fisheries industry was halted last year.

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Portrettbilde av Bjørn Inge Bendiksen

In autumn 2007, employment numbers were roughly the same as the previous year.

Overall, the number of people employed in the fisheries industry has dropped 30 percent in the last six years, according to research group Nofima.

Around 10,400 were employed in the fisheries industry last year, which is around 4000 less than in 2002.

Increases in employment numbers were recorded in Møre og Romsdal and Trøndelag. However, fewer were employed in the eastern part of southern Norway, along the coast of Skagerrak and in Nordland.

A 14 percent decline in the number of seasonal workers from abroad was recorded last year. Seasonal workers from abroad constitute around seven percent of the total number employed in the fishing industry.

Larger activity

The reason for the halting of the decline in employment numbers is larger activity in several industries.

Production of farmed salmon and trout increased, leading to more jobs involving slaughtering and processing. Production of herring and mackerel also increased, while production of clipfish reached a record high last year.

This weighs up the falls in other sectors of the fisheries industry.

Fall likely to continue

"The levelling out is temporary," says Scientist Bjørn Inge Bendiksen at Nofima.

"In the short-term, more production will flow overseas and the increase in the aquaculture industry and other industries will not compensate for this. As a result, we anticipate a further decrease in the number employed in the fishing industry in the years to come."

The competitiveness of the fisheries industry is strongly influenced by the fact that the wage level in Norway is higher than the countries with which we compete.

This applies particularly to labour-intensive tasks and where there is high competition from countries with low production costs. The result has been closures, shifting of production abroad and vigorous rationalising.

One such example is the filleting industry, where employment numbers have halved since 2000.

Nofima is commissioned by the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs to carry out an annual survey of profitability and structural changes in the fisheries industry.

The inaugural survey was carried out in 1975. The employment figures originate from Statistics Norway.

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