Aquaculture Europe 2023

September 18 - 21, 2023


Add To Calendar 21/09/2023 15:15:0021/09/2023 15:30:00Europe/ViennaAquaculture Europe 2023AQUACULTURE TECHNOLOGY GOVERNANCE: FROM STREAMLINED EFFICIENCY TO COMPLEX HETEROGENEITY AND IMPERFECT SOLUTIONS?Schubert 4The European Aquaculture Societywebmaster@aquaeas.orgfalseDD/MM/YYYYaaVZHLXMfzTRLzDrHmAi181982


Signe A. Sønvisen1*, Trine Thorvaldsen2, Marit S. Olsen3, Tonje Osmundsen3, Kristine V. Størkersen2, Andreas Misund2.


1NCFS, The Arctic University of Norway, UiT, Tromsø, Norway

2SINTEF Ocean AS, Trondheim, Norway

3NTNU Samfunnsforskning, Trondheim, Norway




Norwegian aquaculture has undergone significant growth and development in less than 50 years. This success, however, has come at a cost, such as pollution, sea lice, and escapes , as well as  industry  costs related to the combat of these problems.  For instance, the cost of  combating sea lice  increased from about NOK1/kg (€0,085/kg) in 2011 to NOK4.25/kg (€0.36/kg) in 2016. For the industry as a whole, this amounted to a n increase from NOK 4 billion (€338 million)  in 2011 and NOK 5 billion (€422 million) in 2016

. To tackle these issues, the government facilitated industry innovation through a temporary licensing regime in 2015, known as the development license regime (or development projects) . This  has  led  to a range of new production systems based on a mixture of heterogenous and complex technologies. This paper shows:

  1.  How these new technologies and production systems challenge the existing governance  system,  and
  2.  How  increased  this in turn demands an adaptive governance approach .

Materials and methods

The paper is an empirical paper, based on  an inductive  multimethod approach.  We  examine six new and significantly different production systems. T hrough almost fifty semi-structured interviews with various actors involved in the processes of developing these systems, we  gain  a deep  understanding of how new technologies  change the system-to-be-governed and how this, in turn, affects the governing system.  Through Thematic Content Analysis (TCA), we identify common themes, while also presenting the voices across all participants (Anderson 2007).


This study is financed by the Norwegian Research Council (grant no. 301486)


 The paper  will show empirically h ow new technology increases the wickednessof aquaculture governance by increasing the complexity, diversity, uncertainty, and controversies in the aquaculture governance system

(Marchant 2011, Marchant, Allenby et al. 2011, Marchant 2020)

.  Due to the increased wickedness,  there are no optimal solutions to how to manage these emerging technologies.  Moreover, as the development projects always are work in progress, objectives are not permanent, but dynamic and subject to adjustments based on experience and learning. Consequently, the messiness cre ated by these new technologies slows down regulatory processes ,  but also challenges the bureaucra tic proces ses  related to the development projects

 . To handle the rising complexity, diversity, uncertainty, and controversies; the governing system  muddles through, creating working, but imperfect solutions.


 Based on a case study of six technological aquaculture innovations, t his article shows how government-initiated  technological innovations challenge the aquaculture  governance system,  and how the governing system must adapt to these changing conditions.


Abolofia, J., et al. (2017). "The cost of lice: quantifying the impacts of parasitic sea lice on farmed salmon." Marine Resource Economics 32(3): 329–349.

Anderson, R. (2007). "Thematic content analysis (TCA)." Descriptive presentation of qualitative data: 1-4.

Gaudet, L. M. and G. E. Marchant (2011). Administrative law tools for more adaptive and responsive regulation. The growing gap between emerging technologies and legal-ethical oversight, Springer: 167-182.

Iversen, A., et al. (2017). Kostnadsutvikling i lakseoppdrett Med fokus på fôr- og lusekostnader. Tromsø, Nofima.

Johnsen, J. P. (2017). "Creating political spaces at sea–governmentalisation and governability in Norwegian fisheries." Maritime Studies 16(1): 18.

Marchant, G. (2011). The growing gap between emerging technologies and the law In: Marchant GE, Allenby BR, Herkert JR (eds) The growing gap between emerging technologies and legal-ethical oversight: The pacing problem, Springer, Heidelberg.

Marchant, G. E. (2020). "Governance of Emerging Technologies as a wicked problem." Vand. L. Rev. 73: 1861.

Marchant, G. E., et al. (2011). The Growing Gap Between Emerging Technologies and Legal-Ethical Oversight. Dordrecht, Springer Netherlands.