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HAVBRUK2-Stort program for havbruksforskning

A Green Light for Aquaculture? Sustainable Innovation and Growth in Norway

Alternative title: Grønt lys for havbruk? Bærekraftig innovasjon og vekst i Norge

Awarded: NOK 9.9 mill.

This project examines how and to what extent new policy instruments and regulations contribute to environmental sustainability in Norwegian salmon farming. The project uses the occurrence of farm sea lice and sea lice infestations on wild salmonids as the key indicator of sustainability, but also focuses on other sustainability indicators, including farm density and area use, and discharges of nutrients and environmental toxins. The project focuses on policies and regulations such as maximum thresholds for salmon lice in fish farms and production areas, biomass management in the traffic light system, development permits, bottom surveys, environmental monitoring, and the aquaculture fund. The project analyzes how existing and newer regulations interact, and to what extent they contribute to promoting environmental sustainability and innovation of both a genetic and technological type. It will analyze goal attainment, e.g. by studying the effect of regulatory measures on sea lice levels in fish farms on the sea lice infestation pressure on wild salmon population developments over time, and the extent to which regulation enables development and diffusion of radical innovation that can solve key environmental challenges. It will comparatively analyze differences in local sustainability governance, zooming in on a selection of municipalities in the north, mid- and west coast of Norway. Ultimately, the project seeks to explain differences in environmental sustainability between different areas, and evaluate how regulatory systems can be improved to ensure environmentally sustainable salmon farming.

This project focuses on how new policy instruments in Norwegian aquaculture, including the Traffic Light System (TLS), Development Permits (DPs) and the Aquaculture Fund (AF) are implemented and stimulate innovation towards environmentally sustainable aquaculture production. It develops a novel theoretical framework combining different approaches to studying how the design and coordination of policy can spur industry innovation to enable goal attainment. Based on this framework, we propose that shifts towards environmentally sustainable production is likely to reflect appropriate design with strong horizontal and vertical coordination of push and pull policies. In our research, we first we examine the interrelationships of new policy instruments and the broader aquaculture governance regime, and assess how implementation and innovation can enable and/or hinder more environmentally sustainable production. Second, we conduct in-depth analysis of how the implementation of new policy instruments affects two promising innovation pathways, genetic and mechanical innovation, and the related consequences for environmentally sustainable production. Third, we study how the new policy instruments are implemented and stimulate innovation locally within three Norwegian production areas. The objective is to analyze whether and how local innovation can help explain the degree of- and variation in environmentally sustainable production among different production areas. Finally, we synthesize lessons from the empirical investigation of early effects and impacts of new policy instruments, with a view to promote environmentally sustainable production.

Publications from Cristin

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Funding scheme:

HAVBRUK2-Stort program for havbruksforskning