The main objective of this project is to investigate the non-tariff barriers faced by Norwegian seafood exporters in the process of (enterprise) internationalization.

Last update

Read in Norwegian


01. Jan 2018


31. Dec 2020

Funded by

Norwegian Ministry of Trade, Industry and Fisheries


The primary research question addressed in this study is:

What informal barriers to trade do Norwegian seafood exporters experience as hinderance to market access in different markets?


Today, businesses operate in increasingly complex global environments. Using a market-as-network perspective, research in this project is undertaken with the assumption that the seafood business environment consists of actors and stakeholders that are interconnected and mutually dependent.

In meeting with industry contacts, we understood that a number of Norwegian seafood companies believe “market access” to be beyond their control and scope of enterprise responsibility, having to do with formal trade agreements, linked to customs and tariff regulations.

From Nofima’s consolidated studies across various disciplines however, we outline how “market access” can be viewed in a much broader perspective, in such a manner that can be applied to business processes along the seafood supply chain.

Project synopsis

The project consists of three parts:


The first part involved establishing an understanding of how the term “market access” is used and understood in academia and business practices in the seafood industry. Establishing an understanding of how the term is used, or if it is used at all will help identify academic and industry knowledge and practice gaps.

The study compared the use of the term “market access” across various disciplines and industry sectors. The findings indicated that in general, some industries such as the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, worked with and applied relatively mature models and practices of “market access”.

While the seafood industry is different from that of the pharmaceutical and healthcare industry, the findings indicate that “market access” is a concept that remains under-researched as a subject in academia for the Norwegian business context. Within the context of seafood from Norway, “market access” with continued support, holds promise for developing towards a more mature application and management for Norway’s seafood business enterprises.


Cultural sensitivity is important when conducting international trade.  The second part of the project has been to establish relevant research-based knowledge related to the development of e-commerce for seafood. Here we have explored opportunities and challenges for Norwegian seafood producers/exporters, related to the steadily growing e-commerce trade in China.

Does this market channel provide other conditions for market access than the traditional channels such as other preferences, requirements, logistics solutions, and possible changes in power dynamics in the value chain that affect access?


Norway’s seafood industry is continuously working towards developing stronger market access channels and towards reaching its sustainable goals. Based on the combined findings of the first and second part of the study, the third part is focused on understanding how Norwegian seafood quality and sustainability are being communicated business to business (B2B) as well as business to customer (B2C).

What are current industry strategic successes thus far? Are there any differences between the different branches of seafood industry (aquaculture, whitefish, pelagic etc.) and between companies of different sizes?


Researcher blog

As part of the research dissemination from the project, researchers have written easy-to-understand texts in Norwegian language on their own blog, and in the researcher blog “Fra fjord til bord” on

Research areas

Market studies