International Journal of
Fisheries and Aquaculture

  • Abbreviation: Int. J. Fish. Aquac.
  • Language: English
  • ISSN: 2006-9839
  • DOI: 10.5897/IJFA
  • Start Year: 2010
  • Published Articles: 227

Full Length Research Paper

Aquaculture in Europe: Media representations as a proxy for public opinion

Anne Katrin Schlag
King's College London, Strand, London WC2R 2LS, UK. 
Email: [email protected]

  •  Accepted: 07 April 2011
  •  Published: 31 August 2011



Fish is traditionally considered a healthy and pure food. However, with the development of modern aquaculture, a range of potentially controversial issues are emerging. These could significantly impact the future success of the industry. In the absence of in-depth data on lay perceptions on farmed fish and fish farming, this paper utilises media representations as a proxy for public opinion. Media representations of aquaculture were investigated in Germany, Norway and the UK over a five-year timeframe (May 2002 to May 2007). A total of 1049 articles from both broadsheet and tabloid newspapers were analyzed with the qualitative software Atlas/ti. We compare the article framings cross-nationally, focusing in-depth on four major analytical themes which emerged: the environment, the economy, human health and trust/regulation. Despite general similarities, these themes are represented with different salience and foci across the countries of analysis. These divergent media representations of aquaculture are discussed in terms of their likely impacts on lay perceptions of farmed fish and fish farming.  In turn, the understanding of consumer perceptions is a vital component for policy making about aquaculture.


Key words: Aquaculture, farmed fish, risk, media analysis, cross-national research.