The Norwegian-Spanish salted fish project

Research - The Spanish salted fish market and opportunities for the Norwegians

Primary objectives of the project

1. Examining how the Spanish salted fish market restructures
2. Examining Norwegian value chain adaptation to market change
3. Developing strategies for the restoration of Norwegians positions in the Spanish markets.

Subsidiary objectives

1. Examine trends concerning size, products, regional distribution and consumer profiles for
Spain as salted fish market
2. Examine the influence of new technological and institutional changes on producer organisation and market demand in Spain
3. Test selected new salted fish products from Norway in the Spanish market
4. Examine Spanish salt fish purchasing strategies towards their main international suppliers of cod fish
5. Examine competitive Norwegian export strategies, organization and performance of cod products compared to similar Icelandic export profiles
6. Discuss possible strategies for increasing Norwegian competitiveness in the Spanish salted
fish market
7. Develop educational means for basic Norwegian salt fish education (se final section on dissemination of results)

Project summary

The objective of this project is to investigate the restructuring of the Spanish salted fish market and the adaptation of the Norwegian salted fish producers to this market. While exports of salted fish to Spain from other countries have grown considerably the Norwegians have lost market share the last decade. This project will investigate into the reasons for such negative changes and suggest strategies to improve the situation. A second strategy for restoration of Norwegian market influence will be linked to development of training and educational programs for workers in the Norwegian salted fish industry.

The research is performed from a value chain perspective, where the influences of resource markets as well as the consumer markets are interconnected. With its theoretical background in the institutional and evolutionary economy the project analyses the market transformations referring to size, products, regional distribution and consumer profiles for Spain as salted fish market. Changes are linked to new technology, institutional and innovative practices in salted fish production. As drivers for restructuring of the salted fish value chain the hypothesis refers to socio-institutional processes in the consumer markets and to technological changes which enhance the social impacts for the retail trade.
A flexible adaptation to the consumer markets for salted fish producers involves innovation systems and production conventions in raw fish and processing sectors that must correspond to market conventions and consumer demand trends.


This is a joint project between actors and scientists representing two Norwegian salted fish companies, The Norwegian Export council for fish, The Norwegian Fishermen’s Sales Organisation, the former State Vocational School for the fishing industry in Vardø (now Vardø upper secondary school), the University in Bergen, Tromsø University College, Finnmark University College, The Universities in  Valencia, Alicante, Salamanca and Seville.

The research will mainly be carried out by researchers and students connected to the different academic institutions. These participate in one or several of twelve different part-projects that each will contribute to enlighten the research objectives of the main project. In addition to this, six masterstudents and one PhD candidate from UiB, Department of Geography are connected to the project.

Besides academic publication the results will be disseminated as educational programs for salted fish workers, through workshops and conferences and through the industry’s media channels and journals.


Sub Projects


P1 Spanish Conventions and competitiveness in the salted fish industry

Knut Bjørn Lindkvist


P2 Conventions and competitiveness in the production chain of Norwegian salted fish industries aimed at the Spanish markets

Knut Bjørn Lindkvist


P3 Norwegian export strategies and performance in the Spanish market for salted cod products

Torbjørn Trondsen


P4 The demand structure of the Spanish salted fish market

Jinghua Xie


P5 Consumer profiles and marketing strategy for Norwegian salted fish in the Spanish market

Jinghua Xie


P6 Salted fish products based on farmed cod and wild cod in the Spanish salted fish marked

Lorena Gallart Jornet


P8 Salted fish in the Spanish cuisine

Røkenes & Lindkvist


P9 Analysis of Current Status of the Salted Fish Processing Industry in China’s Qingdao Area: Volume, Structure and Innovation

Guilin, Jintian, Jingmei and Yuanyuan


P10 Schools as an arena for product- and market development in the salt fish industry in Finnmark

Odd Ståle Eide


P11 Finnmark as a learning region in an international salted fish market - perspectives on the elaboration of positive path dependency in nature resource based regions.

Torbjørn Schei


P12 The establishment of a Norwegian salt fish school in Spain - The industrial, scientific and pedagogical basis of a Norwegian-Spanish salted fish school.   

Odd Inge Steen


Returning to the Spanish salted fish market

PhD candidate Heidi Bjønnes Larsen