Norwegian Aquaculture: in the span between domestic social responsibility and international market demands

Salmon aquaculture is one of the most prominent Norwegian export industries and is expected to expand significantly in the future. Both the industry and the national economy will profit from a smooth growth of Norwegian aquaculture.
In order to fulfill an expected future growth, the Norwegian aquaculture industry needs to act on two scenes. Domestically, the growth should be supported by Norwegian citizens and other stakeholders, implying acceptance of dedicating coastal areas to the industry and thereby a potential limitation in the provision of other marine ecosystem services. On the international markets, Norwegian salmon producers seek to maintain or repatriate a reputation as an environmentally sustainable industry selling a clean and natural product.
These goals translate in the two research questions that BALANCE project addresses:
1. What are the conditions for reaching a social contract with Norwegian stakeholders, and what if such conditions cannot be reached?
2. Given a situation where domestic conditions imply increased costs, and domestic media contribute with negative information, how may the industry develop a reputation, which contributes to sufficiently high prices in European markets?
With the use of research tools developed in economics and other social sciences, the international research team will gather knowledge on the factors influencing stakeholders’ attitudes to aquaculture growth and the drivers of consumer preferences in the core markets for Norwegian salmon. The project is specifically concerned with the role of media in forming reputation of aquaculture in Norway and among consumers internationally. 
Based on the results of this project, we will provide recommendations for policymakers, aquaculture industry and other stakeholders on achieving balance between citizens’ concerns domestically and the competitiveness on the global market.

Work packages:

WP1 Social acceptance of aquaculture growth by Norwegian citizens
WP2 Acceptance of aquaculture growth by other industrial and policy stakeholders
WP3 Consumer perception and behavior in international markets
WP4 Market experiments to understand consumer behavior in markets for seafood
WP5 Measures to ascertain sustainable growth and consequences of failure to reach a social contract
WP6 Communication and dissemination


The Research Council of Norway (294402)


Core research team:

Margrethe Aanesen (senior researcher, SNF), project leader
Alexander Jakubanecs (researcher, SNF)
Davide Menozzi (professor, University of Parma, Dept. of Food and Drug)
Mikolaj Czajkowski (professor, University of Warsaw)
Sterenn Lucas (Associate professor, INRA - French National Institute for Agricultural Research)
Jahn-Petter Johnsen (professor, UiT Arctic University of Norway)
Signe Sønvisen (associate professor, UiT Arctic University of Norway)
Anders Wien Hauge (associate professor, UiT Arctic University of Norway)
Ekaterina Nikitina (post doc, UiT Arctic University of Norway)


November 2019: Kick-off meeting for the project in Tromsø
February 2020: Focus group about the Norwegian aquaculture sector, Bergen
May-August: Focus groups about consumers’ perception about farmed salmon from Norway, implemented in Italy, Poland and France
June 2020: Focus group about the Norwegian aquaculture sector, Bekkjarvik, Austevoll municipality
September 2020: Focus group about the Norwegian aquaculture sector, Kongsvinger

Photo: Henrik Lindhjem



Summary of 3 focus groups implemented in Norway
Summary of focus groups in Italy, Poland and France