The myth of the poor fisher: Evidence from the Nordic countries

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


Fishers are often perceived to be poor, and low income levels are used to justify subsidies and other types of direct and indirect income support to maintain coastal communities. In this study fishers’ income levels are investigated in four Nordic countries; Denmark, Iceland, Norway and Sweden for different types of fishers and vessels and in comparison to alternative occupations. The most important result is that fishers in these countries are doing relatively well, and only in Sweden is the fishers’ average income level below the average national income. Within the fleets, there are substantial differences. Owners of coastal vessels tend to have the lowest income, and also lower than crews. Owners as well as crews on larger vessels tend to do much better and in the largest fishing nations, Iceland and Norway, they do especially well.


  • Max Nielsen
  • Frank Asche
  • Ole Bergesen
  • Johan Blomquist
  • Edgar Henriksen
  • Ayoe Hoff
  • Rasmus Nielsen
  • Jónas R. Viðarsson
  • Staffan Waldo
External organisations
  • University of Copenhagen
  • University of Stavanger
  • Nofima
  • Matís ltd. – Icelandic food and biotech R&D
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences
  • Swedish University of Agricultural Sciences, Umeå
  • University of Florida
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Economics


  • Fisher income, Livelihood, Nordic
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)186-194
Number of pages9
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 2018 Jul 1
Publication categoryResearch