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Public-private partnerships in vulnerable Icelandic fishing villages

From: 16 Nov 2017 - 16:00 To: 16 Nov 2017 - 18:00

Public-private partnerships in vulnerable Icelandic fishing villages

The Department of Food Business and Development will host a fascinating public lecture by visiting Professor Thoroddur Bjarnason from the University of Akureyri, Iceland

Public-private partnerships in vulnerable Icelandic fishing villages
Most Icelandic fishing villages came into existence in the first decades of the twentieth century and grew rapidly with technological advances and heavy investments in fishing vessels and processing plants. This growth was not sustainable and led to the collapse of the herring stock and overfishing of cod and other important species. The introduction and development of individual transferrable fishing quotas (ITQ) in the 80s and 90s transformed the fisheries, contributing to sustainable resource management and a highly profitable fishing industry. The increasingly capital-intensive market for ITQ led both to investment in technologies that reduced the need for unskilled labor and the concentration of quota and production in larger communities with a more diverse service base.

 Date  Thursday November 16                     
 Time   4 - 6 pm
 Venue  Room G20,  CEC,  UCC

This has seriously undermined the smaller fishing villages that can lose their right to fish and thereby their economic basis if owners of fishing companies choose to move or sell their ITQ in an open market. The resulting insecurities have affected even those villages that had not lost, or even gained, ITQ through the transactions of private fishing companies. Attempts have been made to counteract this instability by various means, most notably through short-term allotment of community-based ITQ to fishing vessels in communities that have recently lost significant ITQ. Such attempts have however yielded limited success, in part because of the lack of community obligations attached to community-based ITQ.

In 2013, an experimental project was introduced, based on the notion of public-private partnership in community development. Fishing companies can apply for participation in a program where they can optain non-propriatory use rights of certain amounts of ITQ according to a five-year contract. Partners are chosen according to the obligations they are prepared to assume for the socio-economic development of specific small, isolated fishing villages.

This approach has already yielded promising results and may become a template for all community-based ITQ in the Icelandic fisheries.

Speaker biography

Thoroddur Bjarnason is professor of Sociology at the University of Akureyri in Northern Iceland. He completed his MA from the University of Essex (1995) PhD from the University of Notre Dame (2000). His research focuses on various aspects regional development, including migration, transportation infrastructure, governmental services, higher education and the transformation of farming and fishing. His recent work has appeared in the International Journal of Circumpolar Health, Journal of Rural Studies and Sociologia Ruralis.

All very welcome to attend.  

For more information contact Dr. Mary O'Shaughnessy

Photo credit: Patrick Brosset via /  CC BY-NC