From controversy to dialog in aquaculture
The Norwegian government has great ambitions for growth and development in the Norwegian aquaculture industry. At the same time, the aquaculture industry also encounters significant opposition by different stakeholders and is undoubtedly controversial. The aquaculture industry contributes to regional and social development in the Arctic, and supplies highly demanded seafood. On the other hand, the industry is criticized for having a negative impact on both the environment and local communities, including indigenous people. The Nofima Food Research Institute has taken the initiative to establish an international network in order to acquire more knowledge on the aquaculture controversy, focusing on: what are the conflicts, how are they framed and expressed; how do the conflicts arise, and which similarities and differences are there in Arctic countries? This knowledge is important to understand the controversy around aquaculture, and thus to turn the process from controversy to dialogue. The AquaLog project `Intensive aquaculture and sustainable regional development in the Arctic – From controversy to dialog` is a network project funded by the Nordic Centre for Spatial development (NORDREGIO), Nordic Council of Ministers. The project`s objective is to understand factors and forces that influence the aquaculture controversy in the Arctic. The first AquaLog workshop was arranged in April 2015 in Tromsø, Norway. This report presents the results of this workshop. The participants of the workshop were from the University of Ottawa, Canada, the University in Holar on Iceland, Sweden's University of Agriculture, The University of Tromsø, the Fiskaaling research institute on the Faeroe Islands, company Torsta AB from Sweden and Nofima from Norway. The findings can be summarized as follows: o The workshop revealed that the controversies in five Arctic countries concern several of the same issues. This despite the countries being very different in terms of the size of the countries and populations, and production volumes, etc. o The controversies in the involved Arctic countries vary in range. They all have in common that the aquaculture industry is accused of having negative impacts on the environment. In the sea this is linked to e.g. escapes, sea lice, diseases and emissions, while in fresh water farming over-fertilization is central. o Spatial and user-group conflicts have risen to the surface, often between aquaculture and other groups such as tourism, fisheries, outdoor activities, and local or indigenous people. o The workshop also revealed that the conflicts seem to be caused by other issues than those that seem most apparent. For example, a narrow focus on environmental sustainability can confine the conflict to an environment issue. This can conceal other fundamental undecided issues such as the distribution of the industry's advantages and disadvantages, rural development, rights, and social and cultural consequences.
SerieNofima Rapport 33, 2015
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