Cod is the major whitefish stock in the Norwegian economic zone. It provides work and meaning for commercial and recreational fishers and for managers and scientists. Fishers have taxonomically differentiated between different types of cod while the gover nment until the late 1970s, dealt with one species, ‘the cod’. In the 1970s, however, ‘coastal cod’ entered the political arena. It was to take another 20 years before the coastal cod was firmly put on the research agenda and after it was, it has been the object of scientific definition struggle both between individual researchers and between a growing number of marine research institutions.
Results from coastal cod research have been made relevant in several politicised discourses in Norway; local and e thnic fishing and management rights, the distribution of rights between the coastal and the offshore fleet, the resource conflict between occupational and tourist fisheries, and finally; in international fisheries as cod is managed jointly by Norway and R ussia. Managers and other interest groups interpret and contest the results from coastal cod research. Central themes in their “readings” of coastal cod research are: is there a distinct species of coastal cod, are there local sub-stocks of coastal cod, a re the stocks of coastal cod decimated and if so, what is the explanation to this decimation
In spite of coastal cod research being tested inside “the laboratory” and contested in society there is a dominant understanding in Norwegian fisheries manageme nt about the existence of one separate, and decimated, stock of stationary coastal cod. Norut Social Science Research applies for research funds to investigate the connections between texts, technologies, practices and interest groups pursuing their socio -political interests that makes the basis for this dominant presentation of the coastal cod.