Mapping Actors and Arguments in the Norwegian Aquaculture Debate
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Norway is the world's leader in the production and export of farmed Atlantic salmon, and authorities there recently established a new management regime for the industry with a view to promoting substantial long-term growth in the industry. The decision by the government suggests broad acceptance for the industry in Norway, but there have been some danger signs with respect to the industry's social acceptance. This paper examines the comments submitted by a wide variety of key stakeholders on the 2014 management proposal to extract the major concerns of Norwegian stakeholders, map how wide-spread these are and evaluate whether they suggest a problem for the social acceptance of the industry at the general and local levels. Findings are analyzed using Wüstenhagen et al.’s three-fold classification of social acceptance: socio-political, community and market acceptance. In addition, findings are compared to six factors commonly suggested to affect community acceptance for innovations such as aquaculture sites. Results suggest that there are widespread environmental and socio-economic concerns with respect to the salmon aquaculture industry. Stakeholder concerns regarding issues of distributional justice may be addressed while stakeholders with strong concerns about the environmental impact of the industry are unlikely to be appeased, especially if environmental concerns are related to issues of identity or aesthetics. Submissions from Northern Norway, likely to be a major area for industry expansion indicate, a strong division on the social acceptability of the industry.