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Remaking of invasive species management: The RKC fishery in Norway

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  • The importance of land infrastructure for supporting coastal fisheries has long been acknowledged;  its role in remote and geographically challenged fishing communities in the Nordic Arctic has visibly impacted community structure and development. This paper explores the Red King Crab (RKC) fishery in Norway and the ways in which its management has been changing the socioeconomic landscape in Northern Finnmark since the beginning of commercial exploitation in the early 2000’s. The RKC in the Barents Sea is an intentionally introduced species that is viewed both as a nuisance and as a valuable economic resource. This induces ambivalent preferences among local stakeholders and decision-makers in Norway. Although the management challenge of invasive species with multiple roles is not new, there has been scant coverage of the underlying bioeconomic trade-offs. Low harvesting costs, uncertain ecosystem losses and ongoing infrastructure investment in onshore landing facilities all shape stakeholders' interests in Norway in favor of a long-term management of the fishery. Simultaneously the political willingness to support local coastal communities and livelihoods in northern Norway provides significant impetus for maintaining a long-term stock, particularly in Eastern Finnmark. The ongoing infrastructure investments favor regional stakeholders over more diffuse and less clearly identified interests in the ecosystem changes induced by the invasive crab.
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  • Seattle, Washington, USA
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