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Swimming upstream: community economies for a different coastal rural development in Sweden

Milena Arias Schreiber, Ida Wingren, Sebastian LInke

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The EU Blue Growth agenda is being implemented at a time when European coastal fisheries and traditional fishing communities are struggling to survive or have already vanished from areas where they used to flourish. Driven by the strong conviction that current disadvantaged and vulnerable coastal fishers still have a central role to play in rural development, local level initiatives are calling for a different future for this fishery sector. The participants in these initiatives insist that coastal fisheries should not be driven to extinction, despite their low economic profitability and thus minimal contribution to economic growth compared to large-scale enterprises. Through participatory observation and informal interviews, we investigate one of these local level initiatives on the Swedish Baltic Sea coast and analyse how it aligns with a community economies’ project based on a different economic perspective. We describe first the primary activities carried out by the initiative and follow by an examination on what drove it, how it has been maintained, and how it might spread. We conclude on the potentials of the community economies framework and project to advance a Blue degrowth agenda based on difference and not necessarily less.

Sustainability Science, vol. 15, 2020

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