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Cross-scale Adaptation Challenges in the Coastal Fisheries: Findings from Lebesby, Northern Norway

Jennifer Joy West, Grete K. Hovelsrud

Cross-scale adaptation challenges in the coastal fisheries in Lebesby municipality, Finnmark County, northern Norway are examined on the basis of fieldwork conducted there. Although fishery actors in Lebesby are aware of, experience, and describe a number of connections between climate variability and coastal fishing activities, they do not characterize their livelihoods as being particularly vulnerable to climate change. Nevertheless, they identify a range of social factors that shape the flexibility of coastal fishing activities and livelihoods to deal with changing environmental conditions. We argue that these factors, and actors' perceptions of their own resilience, constitute important aspects of adaptive capacity and may challenge local responses to climate variability and change. We identified four adaptation arenas: local perceptions of vulnerability and resilience to climate change, Lebesby's social and economic viability, national fishery management and regulations, and the markets and economy of coastal fishing. The adaptation arenas arise and interact across geographic and temporal scales, creating specific barriers and opportunities for local adaptation. Our findings suggest the need to pay close attention to the cross-scale adaptation challenges facing Arctic communities that depend on natural resources. The concept of adaptation arenas helps to illustrate these challenges and should be applied more widely.

More details

  • Year: 2010
  • Journal: Arctic
  • Language: English
  • Volume: 63
  • Issue: 3
  • Page: 338 - 354
  • Issn: 0004-0843
  • Publisher: Arctic Institute of North America