Inshore commercial fisheries in change

Project: Dissertation


The dissertation concerns tourism enterprising in commercial fisheries. The aim is to study how a traditional form of enterprising is practised in relationships between authorities, commercial fisheries and their markets in the contemporary service-oriented economy. Beside policies and industry media texts, the study is based on interviews and observations conducted between 2011 and 2015, within EU-funded fisheries development projects and in fisheries along the west coast of Sweden. The empirical themes that bind together the analysis include issues of fisheries governance, hospitality and work-identity that are central to this form of tourism enterprising practice. The focus of study is what people say and do to create meaning and central theoretical concepts used to discuss the material are practice and positioning. Those form an analysis of tourism enterprising in commercial fisheries (TEFCs) and its connections to excersises of power, constructions of authenticity and work-identification that refer to sustainability.

In the relationship between TEFCs and authorities, in a quest for sustainable fisheries, authorities on different levels form expectations that small scale fisheries in general need to develope marketing skills. Authorities also form a demand for local knowledge in the management of fisheries. TEFCs approach to authorities is charachterized by storylines about intricate regulations. Unlike authorities, TEFCs position themselves as a traditional enterprising that is conditioned by nature and place, regarding both fishing and tourists sense of place and tourism inflow.

In TEFCs relationship to markets, service work is considered an income-increasing activity and a secondary part of enterprising while in various ways identifying themselves foremost as production-oriented fishermen. Customers expectations on various types of authenticity, not least TEFCs identification as fishermen, permeate the research material. In some cases customers find TEFCs as sustainable and authentic, in other cases this is questioned. Meeting customers, TEFCs perceive many consumers as naive regarding nature and the ”realities” of fisheries and fish. In the presence of customers, the fishers convey knowledge and stories about hardships of fisheries.

In relationships to the industry, TEFCs are highlighted as good examples in the industry media. TEFCs position themselves in relation to conventional fisheries, which are are portrayed old-fashioned, quantitative-oriented and introvert. Another counter-position constructed to form a TEFC work identity, is large scale international fisheries as unsustainable. Rather than studying rural traditional industries only as objects of development or as forced performers of authenticity and identity, I show many aspects and examples of how a traditional industry is negotiated in relation to the contemporary economy. I claim that TEFCs commit to an ambivalent market positioning practice, where they authenticate themselves as hard-working, traditional, yet modern, sustainable fisheries. This study suggests that work-identity and authentic selves are re-negotiated in practice which not only creates tensions but also aim to position and empower the industry.

Layman's description

The thesis is about a traditional industry in transition. More specifically, it examines how inshore fisheries are assigned meaning in the service-oriented economy. The study shows how meaning is reflected in different actors´approaches to tourism enterprising in commercial fishing and in tourismenterprising fisheries everyday practices along the west coast of Sweden, between 2011 and 2015. In a first step, the empirical material of texts, observations and worklife history were generated. In a second step, the material is being analyzed from a discourse-theoretic perspective.

Three themes bind together the analysis; governance, markets and identity, which revolves around aspects of power, hospitality and authentic experiences. This both limits and increases opportunities for tourism entrepreneurs in this traditional industry, to position themselves as sustainalbe fisheries in the new economy.
Short titleKustnära yrkesfiske i förändring
Effective start/end date2010/09/012015/04/01


Related research output

Malin Andersson, 2019 Aug 5, (Accepted/In press) 1st ed. Lund: Lund University. 182 p.

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (monograph)

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