The fishing community in Thorupstrand, in northern Jutland, is one of the few examples of a small-scale fishing community left in Denmark. Thorupstrand is a fishing village along Denmark’s northern coast, the bay of Jammerbugt. Fishing has never been a simple affair here. The strong sea currents are constantly reshaping the sea bed, preventing the construction of a port. As a result, the boats must be winched in and out of the water every day and “parked” on the shore when not in use.
The Thorupstrand Coastal Fishermen’s Guild (Thorupstrand Kystfiskerlaug in Danish) unites the local fishers. It was founded in 2007 as a reaction to the privatization of fishing quotas that wiped out most of Denmark’s small-scale fishing industry and drove a fast concentration of access to marine resources.
Its management model has evolved out of the local families’ tradition of collectively managing the fishing. The fishers who join own and manage the catch quotas as a cooperative, redistributing them to each member. The membership cost (100,000 Danish kroner, about 13,000 euros) is the same for all members and is paid back to anyone who decides to leave the guild, but the values of the guild, the common fishing quotas can never be made an object of speculation.
The processing facilities, retail space, some landing equipment and the areas for storing the boats on land are also owned jointly.
The Thorupstrand fishers use traditional fishing methods that respect the marine environment. The nets, for example, could legally have a smaller mesh, but their larger holes mean the fishers avoid catching undersized fish. The most common species caught are plaice, cod, haddock, lumpfish, monkfish, turbot and pollock, also known as coley.
The Presidium’s activities involve the entire production and distribution chain, from fishing (and the management of quotas) to the processing of the fish in a newly built warehouse and its sale in a fishmonger’s shop and through a sales company.
The Presidium is also working to promote and publicize Thorupstrand’s local management model so that it can become a useful example and, hopefully, attract young people to the sustainable small-scale fishing industry, both locally and in other parts of the world. In this model, the fishers are better able to resist the effects of privatization, and can build local networks that shorten the supply chain.
Thorupstrand village, Jammerbugt, northwest coast of Jutland
Thorupstrand Fiskehus, Thorupstrandvej 329, 9690 Fjerritslev, Thorupstrand, www.thorupstrandfiskehus.dk
Kutteren, HM800 Jammerbugt – KBH, Havnegade 52, 1058 København, K., Copenhagen, www.thorupstrandfisk.dk