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Open Access Research

Pushed or pulled? Understanding fishery exit in a welfare society context

Jahn Petter Johnsen1* and Jostein Vik2

Author Affiliations

1 Norwegian College of Fishery Science, University of Tromsø, Tromsø, Norway

2 Centre for Rural Research, Norwegian University of Technology and Science, Trondheim, Norway

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Maritime Studies 2013, 12:4  doi:10.1186/2212-9790-12-4

Published: 26 April 2013


For a long time the number of fishers in Norway has declined. Is the decline the result of an increasingly difficult situation for Norwegian fishers or can other factors have had an impact? Or in other words: are fishers pushed out or pulled out of the fisheries? Our analyses are based on a survey among retired fishers and suggest several reasons for exit: in addition to structural push and pull factors we also find reasons that are connected more to change in social and cultural values than economic value. Our point is that we cannot understand why Norwegian fishers are leaving the fisheries without taking the broader societal context into consideration. Our results show that fisheries and marine industry policies for recruitment and employment will have to take the pull from other industries and the comprehensive welfare state into consideration.

Fisheries change; Modernisation; Welfare system