Nordic flatfish project show limited potential in increased sector cooperation

Published on December 23, 2022

In early December the Nordic Council of Ministers published the final work from The Flatfish Project, a project with the objective to study the Nordic flatfish value chains and the significance of Nordic supplies within the North-European flatfish value chains.

The project was as well intended to facilitate networking and cooperation between stakeholders in the Nordic flatfish value chains, stock status, catches, values, processing, trade, and markets with the aim to potentially contribute to a common strategic planning by suppliers or Nordic authorities and/or cooperation in sales and marketing of flatfish from the Nordic countries.

The conclusion of the report is that due to the limited share of the Nordic countries in total European and global supply of flatfish, the extremely strong position of the Dutch industry within the value chains, and seemingly modest profit margins throughout these value chains; it is difficult so see how increased Nordic cooperation could contribute to further value creation for the Nordic seafood sector.

The report outcome leads to new questions about the current fishing of flatfish from the Baltic Sea since cod is a common bycatch when fishing plaice. Increased fishing of flatfish can pose a threat the recovery of the cod in the Baltic Sea if new selective gear is not introduced and made mandatory to avoid cod bycatch.