SOCIALSHIFT (Social transformations of marine fisheries) investigates how fisheries can respond successfully to environmental and social challenges. Due to pressing local and global issues, fisheries are undergoing profound and long-lasting changes. These so-called transformations are hard to predict, difficult to reverse, and can have far-reaching impacts on fish stocks, ecosystems, economic outcomes, and social wellbeing. However, social transformations remain largely unexplored in the marine realm. Why are some fisheries capable of going through transformations with positive, desirable effects while others collapse or take an undesirable route? SOCIALSHIFT reunites studies from different disciplines in a global database to identify the drivers and inhibiting and enabling conditions for social transformations of marine fisheries. We combine this structural perspective with biographical interviews to explore what social transformations mean to individual people in marine fisheries and how their actions and mental processes shape these transformations and link to ecological factors. From case studies, we develop a generalizable method to systematically assess individual life histories and scale up qualitative approaches to make social aspects more accessible to fisheries management. Based on that, we identify tipping points and create scenarios to develop, together with stakeholders, inspirational visions for the future and resilient management strategies.

SOCIALSHIFT (09/2021 – 09/2023) has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Skłodowska-Curie grant agreement No 896438.