The project examines aquaculture research in Norway during a formative period approximately 1970-1993. This period saw the beginning of the modern salmon farming industry and the establishment of a research council for the fisheries; the project ends with merger of the research councils into the current Research Council of Norway (RCN) in 1993. This ended a period in which Norwegian research had been divided along sectoral lines. These were divisions which aquaculture had straddled and challenged in a number of ways.
Norwegian aquaculture provides an interesting object of research in a history of science perspective for several reasons. By contrast to conventional fisheries, fish farming requires in-depth knowledge the biological traits of the fish, as well as traditionally agricultural topics, such as feeding and veterinary care. These diverse requirements forced cooperation between previously unrelated institutions, disciplines and groups of researchers in the Norwegian research landscape.
Further, while the present industry is technologically and scientifically intensive, the industry also drew and indeed continues to draw heavily on practical experience. The hands-on experience of the “pioneers,” a key part of the founding myth of Norwegian aquaculture, has repeatedly been at odds with expert knowledge and expert judgment.
Finally, early regulations restricted the size of individual companies in a bid to establish fish farming as an owner-operated industry with strong local ties. While the economic and regulatory repercussions of these ambitions have received at least some scholarly recognition, they also played an important role in increasing the relative importance of state-funded research.
History of science and technology, environmental history, history of knowledge, history of ideas, aquaculture, the Blue Revolution, expertise, research and innovation.