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Climate  Vision

Climate change has already moved fish stocks from their traditional areas something we have also observed with certain fish stocks in the Nordic region. The fisheries and aquaculture sectors must prepare to adapt to these changes. Last year the NMTT began to work on a climate change vision which the NMTT Board recently reviewed.

While working on our climate change vision it became apparent that there is no Nordic public platform for fisheries and aquaculture organizations and interests to meet with ocean science with a view to discuss and advance the understanding of the impacts of climate change on their sectors. Against this background the NMTT has started a dialogue with the Nordic Council of Ministers about a potential program for how to address this. We look forward to over the coming month to be able to report in more details on this initiative.


Crew Payment Systems in Nordic Fisheries

How do different payment systems depend on or influence fisheries management and sustainability?


The NMTT coordinates the project which is financed by the Nordic Council of Ministers. Researchers from Greenland, Faroe Islands, Iceland, Norway and Denmark take part in the project.


Overall objectives of the work

The work seeks to map out the fisher payment/salary systems in use in fisheries in Denmark, Faroe Islands, Greenland, Iceland and Norway, to collect and analyze pay evolution through time series, and to examine the existence and distribution of resource rent among fisher group participants i.e. fishing quota owners, vessel owners and fishermen hired on board fishing operations. 

A distinction should be made between the different participating categories of fishers as deckhands/labour as well as employed skippers vs. owners of vessels and owners of quotas. Each of these distinct groups of fishing participants will face different motivation for pay, rent seeking, subsidization, etc. The work to be undertaken will seek to categorize these different groups, describe how they operate and get paid, and discuss how these different groups are motivated. 

For fisheries policy makers the interest in such work rest in a better appreciation of 1) how the pay between the different fisher groups participating in fishing operations have evolved over the past couple of decades to track influences from changing fisheries management system, 2) to gain a better insight and understanding of incentive structure or motivation of fisheries participant groups and 3) to better appreciate how different fisheries management systems may give rise to different outcomes across countries and across fisheries participant groups due to pay system. 

Such work will be able to shed light on the questions regarding WHO of the participating groups of fishers makes money in the fisheries and HOW the resource rent (if any) is distributed between participating groups.


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FMSY is a biological reference point that represents the fishing pressure that gives the maximum sustainable yield of a given fish stock. The annual fishing quotas are set to correspond to a fishing pressure of FMSY. The current project will come up with new FMSY values, which are based on ecosystem functioning, for each of the data rich fish stocks in the Northeast Atlantic.


The project is funded by the Nordic Council of Ministers (NMR), the Institute of Marine Research (IMR) via the Norwegian Fisheries Research Fund, the European Maritime and Fisheries Fund and the Danish Ministry of Environment and Food. The total budget is 3 million DKK and the project will run until the end of 2018. Henrik Sparholt from NMTT is the project-leader.

NMTT has carried out a project on "Ecosystem Based FMSY Values in Fisheries Management". The aim was to bridge the gap between the science available and the fisheries management and to "pick the low hanging fruits" of the very substantial multispecies and ecosystem research which has taken place over the past four decades. This research has revealed how species interact in the ecosystem. For instance, a cod will eat many small fish like sprat, so a large cod stock will mean smaller fishing quotas for sprat. A large cod stock will also mean lower growth of individual cod due to food competition. For decades such ecosystem effects could generally be ignored in the fisheries management due to the bigger problem of overfishing. In recent years in the Northeast Atlantic where overfishing has generally ended and fish stocks are building up, these ecosystem effects becomes important. The current project has two innovative ideas for bringing this research into practical management action almost immediately.

FMSY project

Allocation of Fishing Rights in the North East Atlantic

NMTT has studied the legal framework and its implementation in establishing allocation schemes for shared stocks such as Northeast Atlantic mackerel. The report includes a proposal for a dynamic sharing system.

The report was presented at a special side event of the Tórshavn conference on Growth in Blue Bio Economy June 2th 2015. You can view the report as well as the press realease (in both English and Danish) by clicking the links below

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