Rethinking the future of coastal fisheries


Researchers from the UiT and partners think service design to improve safety and profitability in the jigging fleet.

Researchers with an eye for the futures of coastal fisheries in Norway: Roger Larsen, a fishery technologist, Melania Borit, a maritime lawyer and fisheries manager, and Jorge Santos, a fishery biologist.

AFO-JIGG, a new research project that looks at multiple aspects of the jigging fishery, from the sea and into the supply chain, is about to start along the coast of Norway. It is coordinated by the Norwegian College of Fishery Sciences and funded by the Norwegian Research Council.

Safety first

The small coastal vessels have been the backbone of the Norwegian fishing industry for many centuries, in good times and bad times. Recent changes in laws and regulations, a new economic climate, and a drive towards globalization, have favoured large scale operations and processing of fish abroad. The result has been a large decrease in the coastal fleet, including the smallest vessels, the jigging fleet, which now operate often with a single person onboard. “They have long and hard days during the main cod (skrei) fishing season and at the end of the day it is easy to make mistakes; we will look at the critical points and test changes, in order to increase the safety onboard”, tells Larsen at the NFH of UiT.

Service design

The jigging fishery delivers the best quality fish. But, from the sea to the harbour, there are many possibilities to adjust or make changes in the processes to increase the quality and value of the products.

The jigging fleet already delivers the best fish, but re-designing can improve fisher’s safety, fish welfare, product quality, and consumer awareness and preference. 
“Together with specialists in service design, we will search for a unified, efficient and ethical system that is preferred by the final consumers, but also brings benefits to the fishers. These changes in the sector can be technological, operational, marked-oriented and even social, and might open for very different ways of thinking about the industry in the future than we can imagine now. We are trying to bring to a neglected sector what the leaders in the service industry are already implementing with success”, says Santos.

Transdisciplinarity

To investigate the broad potential of the jigging fleet it is necessary to integrate expertise from several disciplines, but also have an eye open to several possible futures of the industry. Researchers hired in the project must have basic scientific knowledge in various domains and deep expertise in a specific domain, a combination known as “T-shaped skills profile”. They must also be able to interact closely with the industry, as the project will have a strong trans-disciplinary component. This means that the fisheries sector itself, and particularly the fishers, will be involved from the start in the planning, management and implementation of the research.
“Together with our partner specialized in service design, we believe that best quality services are those designed in collaboration with all the relevant stakeholders”, says Borit, the coordinator of the project and add:
“Only working together we can uncover desirable futures and take action to achieve these, but also identify possible future events with highly disruptive potential and be prepared for tackling them and minimise their impact of the industry, the environment, and the society”.

This is AFO-JIGG

AFO-JIGG - Service design thinking to improve welfare and product quality in the Norwegian small-scale fishing fleet - is one of the five BFE grant proposals and 19 UiT grant proposals that were funded in December 2019. AFO-JIGG is funded under the program MARINFORSK. The project will start in Autumn 2020 and last for 3.5 years.

Related links: https://uit.no/nyheter/artikkel?p_document_id=659355&p_dim=265634

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