A method to assess social sustainability of capture fisheries: An application to a Norwegian trawler

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Social sustainability assessment of capture fisheries is, both in terms of method development and measurement, not well developed. The objective of this study, therefore, was to develop a method consisting of indicators and rubrics (i.e. categories that articulate levels of performance) to assess social sustainability of capture fisheries. This method was applied to a Norwegian trawler that targets cod and haddock in the northeast Atlantic. Based on previous research, 13 social sustainability issues were selected. To measure the state of these issues, 17 process and outcome indicators were determined. To interpret indicator values, rubrics were developed for each indicator, using standards set by international conventions or data retrieved from national statistics, industry agreements or scientific publications that explore rubric scales. The indicators and rubrics were subsequently used in a social sustainability assessment of a Norwegian trawler. This assessment indicated that overall, social sustainability of this trawler is relatively high, with high rubric scores, for example, for worker safety, provisions aboard for the crew and companies' salary levels. The assessment also indicated that the trawler could improve on healthy working environment, product freshness and fish welfare during capture. This application demonstrated that our method provides insight into social sustainability at the level of the vessel and can be used to identify potential room for improvement. This method is also promising for social sustainability assessment of other capture fisheries.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)31-39
JournalEnvironmental Impact Assessment Review
Publication statusPublished - 2015


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  • indicators
  • fish
  • farm
  • appraisal
  • rapfish

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