In the Arctic, focus has shifted towards the 'blue' economic potential, but there is limited knowledge of how to exploit this potential. This is especially relevant for the Svalbard archipelago, specifically the community of Longyearbyen, now undergoing a transformation from a mining community towards a multi-functional 21st century Arctic hub.

Fisheries and greater utilisation of this already abundant activity by allowing landings on Svalbard is hailed as one possible avenue, advantageous for the local population and thereby Norway's Arctic presence. Questions remain as to the potential for and profitability of such activity, not least given the unique governance structures on and around Svalbard.

Together with the key business actors with an interest in this activity, we ask: what conditions and determines the feasibility of an emerging fishing industry on Svalbard? The objective of the SVALFISH-project is to improve knowledge regarding a possible fishing industry in Svalbard, and under what conditions new activity in this part of the Arctic might expand, in turn enhancing knowledge in businesses and among decision-makers. The project is developed together with the most central users, as we focus on the steps that determine the profitability of fishing activity in this region: catching, landing, processing and exporting of fish.

This will be done by: (1) knowledge development in work packages dealing with various aspects of fisheries and Svalbard, where specific user partners are involved; (2) work-package synthesis, leading to policy recommendations and specific guidelines to assist business and decision-makers (local, national, perhaps international); and (3) outreach events and workshops together with industry partners, to ensure communication of findings and relevance beyond this initial research project. Our target group is both geographic (Svalbard/North Norway) and competence-based (actors utilising marine economic opportunities).

Project period: 2020-2022




  • The Research Council of Norway