Kan de zeevisserij in Nederland opnieuw een belangrijke maatschappelijke bijdrage leveren?

At the turn of the 19th century, the Netherlands was still a major fishing nation, with an estimated 100,000 people employed in (mainly) small-scale fisheries. The importance of fisheries (but not fish trade!) for economy and society has gone down significantly since then, with less than 10,000 people now employed in the sector. Does labour-intensive, small-scale fisheries have a role to play again in future? Such small-scale fisheries are argued to be more selective and less damaging to the environment, and are possibly able to better serve (niche) markets for sustainable fish products. The fishing profession – with its emphasis on hard physical labour, risk taking and adventure – may also cater to the social/psychological needs of a segment of the Dutch population, providing job satisfaction and a sense of direction. Collectively, a more substantial fisheries could contribute to the national maritime identity. It could also provide a systematic set of ‘feelers’ for change in the ocean environment on which we so rely.