Bycatch, My catch: Exploring the potential value creation of bycatch

Student thesis: Master thesis (including HD thesis)

  • Emil Mathias Meulengracht
  • Anne-Lot Visscher
This study is the result of empirical data collection on the fishing industry and bycatch, with the case of the Port of Hanstholm in Nordjylland, Denmark. In this project, multiple realities of the fishing industry relative to bycatch are unfolded, aiming to reveal a potential for utilizing bycatch to increase its business value. The project applies a Design Thinking perspective with Multiplicity by Annemarie Mol, as the theoretical framework for integrating Business Model Canvasses to explore Value Propositions. The data collection consists of observations at the Port of Hanstholm (Denmark) and the IJmuiden Harbor (Holland), along with five expert interviews and a focus group discussion.

Due to the implementation of the landing obligation in the fishing industry, fishermen are forced to land all catch, leading to expected increases of landed bycatch. Today, the primary use of bycatch is in production of fish meal, fish oil and biogas, only yielding minor profit. Current studies focus on legislative, managerial and technological improvements to reduce bycatch-rates, however, despite innovations in technologies, bycatch cannot be avoided completely. A gap is revealed in customer-based initiatives compared to other problem-solving approaches related to bycatch in fisheries. This project aims at uncovering the potential use of bycatch by increased business value in a consumer-perspective.
By exploring the first three phases of the Strategic Design Practice model, originated from the Design Thinking theory, this project should be considered as an important first step in research of identifying potentials for value creation, before proceeding to engage in creating a market for bycatch and addressing future challenges of the landing obligation.

Unfolding the complexity and multiple realities of the fishing industry has led to the conclusion that the fishing industry is multiple, fluid and enacts with many actors, discourses and elements, implying several realities, several ontologies.
Seeking for the potential of bycatch, to increase business value, led to the understanding that public negativity towards the Danish fishing industry, affects behavioral patterns of consumers through distrust. Turning this discourse could partly be done through providing and marketing products of bycatch. Examples of such could be by providing transparency, storytelling, competitive pricing and preparation instructions. Creation of such products are suggested to be retail-driven, focusing on the behavior, needs and desires of the consumer. The value creation of bycatch should not be addressed in the operational fishery, seeing as increased incentives to profiting from bycatch might remove motivations towards selective fishing among fishermen. Value creation of bycatch should be addressed in other parts of the value chain.
Publication date1 Jun 2018
Number of pages155
ID: 280242831