How can the marine industries coexist in a good way along the coast? Nofima is now launching a new multidisciplinary research initiative focusing on the coexistence of different coastal industries. The objective is to gain increased knowledge and find better tools for ensuring steady industrial development in Norway.

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The conflict level between the various coastal industries can be quite high at times. Nofima wishes to reduce conflict and facilitate dialogue between different stakeholders in the Norwegian coastal zones. As a result, the institute has now launched a multidisciplinary research initiative to increase knowledge about how to best attend to the different interests in the coastal zone.

Developing the industries

“In order to develop the Norwegian trade and industry sector, we need to expand our knowledge about how the different coastal industries live side by side. We wish to develop models and methods for documenting and giving us a better understanding on how this can be organized in a good way. Both the industries and the public administration sector recognize the need to gain further insights and a better basis of knowledge for making important decisions for our coastal regions”, says project manager Kine Mari Karlsen.

She is leading the three-year project which combines expertise from both the natural sciences and social sciences at Nofima. Multidisciplinary research enables the researchers to examine the complex conditions of the clashing interests of the various stakeholders in the coastal zones.

Improved methods

Among other things, the researchers will aim to develop new biologically-founded methods for documenting the impact of the interaction between wild fish and farmed fish, and try to create a common understanding between fishermen and fish farmers on the benefits and drawbacks of the fact that wild fish congregate around fish farms to feed. It is necessary to create a consensus on the quality of such wild fish, as well as how to assess that quality and compare it with other wild fish.

Nofima’s ripple effect analyses, which until now have been applied on a national, regional and enterprise level within the seafood industry, shall be expanded and developed further. The researchers will also be creating models and methods for successful coexistence of the various marine industries in the coastal zone.

Cross-disciplinary knowledge base

Both public administration and private business stakeholders in the fisheries and aquaculture industries call for more expertise on how the coastal industries can work well together. Previous Norwegian research into this field has not been part of any larger initiatives that encompass all the aspects of sustainable industries – in terms of both environmental, economic, social and institutional sustainability. Now, the researchers want to connect expertise and insights from economy, biology and management research.

“There is a great need for expanding our knowledge about the coexistence of marine industries in the coastal zone. We have been working with these issues for years, and are quite aware of the gaps in our knowledge. It is of vital importance that decisions on how our coastal areas should be used are made on the basis of facts rather than myths”, says Karlsen.

Nofima finances the “Sameksistens” (“Coexistence”) project themselves. The project was launched in January 2019, and will be running for three years. Nofima is engaged in research and development for improved sustainable development and value creation in the food industries.

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