In this dissertation inshore commercial fisheries are being studied from a cultural analytical perspective with a focus on service production and hospitality. The dissertation title, ”Inshore commercial fisheries in change. From pluri-activity to entrepreneurship”, refers to the multiple kinds of change that the fishing industry has undergone for a long period in time. They include rationalization of traditional industries, causing decline in the number of inshore commercial fisheries but also an increasing coastal tourism. Since over a decade, authorities encourage traditional small businesses to turn to tourism and to engage in tourism development projects. Moreover, little attention has been paid to the sociocultural context of small businesses in tourism and in particular traditional firms like coastal fisheries. Against this background, I seek to understand how this traditional industry is formed and negotiated at the intersection between political governance and the everyday life of people in the service oriented economy.
The aim of the dissertation is thus to explore a traditional industry in change during the first decade of the 21st century, through answering three questions in the following order: How is inshore commercial fisheries presented in political visions of the future fishing industry? In what ways does hosting and hospitality manifest in the everyday life of inshore commercial fisheries and what does that mean for the work role of coastal fishers? The study is based on ethnographic material generated along the westcoast of Sweden between 2011- 2015. It consists in total of thirty interviews, different policy texts, media texts and observations from governance meetings and participation in inshore coastal fisheries. The theoretical framework draw on discourse theory and the concept of positioning, in an analysis of three emerging themes.
First, from a top-down management, future coastal fishing is defined as ”locally sustainable” and as a profitable enterprise with less regulations, albeit increased individual responsibility. In this ambition fishermen are expected to ”diversify” and act as entrepreneurs in local markets for direct sales and tourism. In a governance context contemporary fishers are depicted as unaware of the potential of marketing and they are therefore expected to become more business oriented ”story-tellers”. The union of fishers´ vision is similar to authorities, while individual fishers views of the future are not as utopian. They express concern about a permanent loss of knowledge and cultural heritage. This indicates a gap in trust between governance of fisheries and fishers.
Secondly, hospitality manifests in exhibitions, festivals, fish restaurants, lobster safaris, processed fish to mention a few. The drivingforces for this maritime hosting is to earn more income, but also to pass on knowledge about fisheries and about their terms of work. In this context the fishers position themselves as experts. The service meeting, however, enables fishers to learn about visitors expectations, level of knowledge and preferences. They also engage in a form of authentication of the inshore commercial fishery, presenting it as quality-oriented, natural and authentic, where cultural heritage plays an important role.
Last, the work role is presented as an independent and responsible actor who is a ”part of nature”, where the small scale business, in particular small scale fishing, is highlighted. Doing service work is explicity being down-prioritized in favor of fishing and ”being the fisher”. The work role of ”Being a fisher” is characterized by flexibility, ambivalence and unpredictability. In sum, as the title indicates, the contemporary fisher in the service-oriented economy use several positions, of which some can be found in authorities visions, such as the tourism entrepreneur. The fishers also position themelves in a reluctant manner as victims and experts. At the intersection between political management and the everyday life of fisheries, the discourse about sustainable fisheries covers different perspectives on what sustainability and sustainable fisheries ”is”. The comtemporary service-oriented fishers position themselves as a sustainable alternative to industrial fisheries and fish mass trade on a global scale. Furthermore, they navigate between resistance, self-discipline and constant adaptation. A practical implication of the study is that coastal communities and hospitality organizations who wish to anchor place branding in local entrepreneurship, could consider what role inshore commercial fisheries can play as a resource for promoting sustainable food consumption and for spreading knowledge about local food and local cultural heritage, while also considering recruitment, seasonal continuation and working conditions and safety as issues of sustainability.
Avhandlingens titel "Kustnära yrkesfiske i förändring. Från mångsysslare till
entreprenör" hänvisar till de förändringar som fiskenäringen har genomgått
under flera decennier. Fiskenäringen har rationaliserats samtidigt som
besöksnäringen vid kusten expanderat. Antalet yrkesfiskare i kustnära yrkesfiske
har därför minskat och näringen måste förhålla sig till nya informella krav och
förväntningar på turismutveckling. Detta leder till studiens huvudfråga: Hur
formas och förhandlas en traditionell näring i den tjänsteinriktade ekonomin
och vad sker i skärningspunkten mellan politisk styrning och yrkesfiskares
vardag? Mot denna bakgrund undersöks i avhandlingen en traditionell näring
i förändring under 2000- talets första årtionden utifrån tre mer specifika
frågor: Hur framställs kustnära yrkesfiske i politiska visioner om den framtida
fiskenäringen? Hur tar sig värdskap uttryck i fiskenäringens vardag? Vad innebär
visioner och värdskap för yrkesrollen som kustnära yrkesfiskare? Studien, som
bygger på ett etnografiskt material som insamlats längs Sveriges västkust,
visar att kustnära yrkesfiskare förväntas bli entreprenörer och maritima värdar
i kustsamhällen. Yrkesfiskarna som deltar i studien erbjuder hummersafaris,
öppnar restauranger och organiserar festivaler. De förmedlar även sina
kunskaper om fisk, fiske och om fiskets kulturarv i mötet med besökare. Genom
olika positioneringar försöker yrkesfiskarna forma sin roll som yrkesfiskare i den
tjänsteinriktade ekonomin. ISBN 978-91-7895-187-1