Researching new coastal industries
Turnover from fishing tourism in Norway is now approaching NOK 1 billion per annum. Many coastal communities which experience decline in traditional industries are now looking to tourism to maintain economic activity and population.
Coastal tourism is so diverse. The Hurtigruten (Coastal Steamer) brings guests from Norway and abroad to towns and cities along the coast on a daily basis, restaurants serve Norwegian seafood to their guests and various types of nature and culture-based activities are on offer.
Coastal activities on offer to tourists in Norway, whether they arrive by cruise ship, aircraft, car or bus, cover everything from coastal museums and other man-made and natural attractions to whale, seal, sea bird and king crab safaris and, not least, marine fishing tourism.
It is within the latter form of coastal tourism that Norway has experienced the strongest growth over the past 20 years.
Dreaming about the big catch
The Norwegian coast is a popular destination for European anglers, in part because of the diversity in fish species. Along the Norwegian coastline, the fishing tourists can also realise their dream of the big catch or the trophy fish.
“Marine recreational fishing is little regulated in Norway, compared to commercial fisheries and to marine recreational fishing in other countries,” says Nofima Scientist Trude Borch.
“Consequently, marine fishing tourism has been met with a fair share of criticism and scepticism over the years. It is important to map the scope of this new coastal industry, such as the number cabins and fishermen’s cottages and boats for hire.”
It is also important to map how much fish the tourists catch, as well as the economic impacts for coastal communities.
Borch’s research shows that turnover from fishing tourism in Norway is now approaching NOK 1 billion per annum. Nearly NOK 500 million is spent on rental boats and accommodation.
A need for increased cooperation
Marine recreational fishing is a focused issue in the European Union, the International Council for Exploration of the Sea and the Ministry of Fisheries and Coastal Affairs.
This is the background for Nofima now strengthening its competence within the areas of coastal tourism, recreational fishing and marine fishing tourism.
“Increased value creation/economic impact from coastal tourism will rely on increased cooperation between the seafood industries and the tourism industry,” says Borch.
“In August Nofima will start a project on this topic in collaboration with the Centre for Rural Research at NTNU in Trondheim.”
Project partners are Hurtigruten, the Norwegian Seafood Export Council, Rica Hotels, Forum for visningsanlegg i havbruk (forum for exhibition facilities for aquaculture), the Norwegian Hospitality Association (NHO Reiseliv) and a committee comprising coastal tourism and seafood companies.
The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway.