▸ The purpose of this study is to analyze the possibility of introducing the social economy in fishing communities and the fisheries industry, while presenting measures to invigorate them. By doing so, the study aims to contribute to resolving polarization in fishing communities, creating jobs, strengthening social safety net and invigorating local communities.
2. Methodology and Feature
<Table> Characteristics of the methodology
▸ This study primarily focuses on establishing the concept of social economy in fishing communities and fisheries industry, presenting the possibility of introducing them and measures to invigorate them.
- For literature review, the study collected and analyzed preceding studies relevant to the introduction of social economy in other sectors as well as invigoration measures. This analysis was utilized to present measures to invigorate the social economy in fishing communities and the fisheries industry.
- On-site investigation consists of visiting research to best social economy organizations in Korea including social enterprises and cooperatives. The result of this analysis served as a basis for presenting the possibility of introducing the social economy and its direction in fishing communities and fisheries industry.
- Foreign cases were used to investigate and study relevant literature of major countries in which social economy has invigorated such as the UK, Italy and Spain. However, the study carried out a business trip to Quebec, Canada since it was a benchmark case when Korea had adopted social enterprise system.
- Having carried out visiting research and workshops targeting domestic experts, the study identified the current status and problems of social economy and social enterprises in Korea. Furthermore, workshops were utilized to collect opinions for the necessity of introducing the social economy and setting direction in fishing communities and the fisheries industry.
▸ The concept of ‘Social Economy’ emerged as an alternative value and communal strategy based on the principal of reciprocity and redistribution, while seeking to address problems that the government or market cannot solve
- The social economic system based on this concept is an economic framework in pursuit of public interest, in other words, social value, while generating private interest. In addition, it means economic activities generating social value through production and sale of goods and services based on cooperation and self-support among members.
▸ As the world is facing structural problems such as widening gap between rich and poor, job instability and aging, the importance of realizing social value as well as the social economy has become increasingly prominent.
- Having changed economic structures arising from low growth and low employment, major countries such as the EU is evaluating the social economy as a new solution.
- Furthermore, these countries strive to ensure various forms of economic activities by social economic enterprises to realize the social economy. Such measures include enactment of laws relevant to the social economy and establishment of direct and indirect support systems.
▸ Korea is also building a foundation for quantitative growth for nurturing social enterprises and its support by improving law and system, conducting pilot projects and raising public awareness. However, relevant policies in the fisheries sector have produced low outcome although the result showed better effect than expected.
- As of 2018, a total of 18,606 social economic organizations are in operation in Korea. Among them, the number of the federation of cooperatives is the highest with 13,596 in accordance with the Framework Act on Cooperatives followed by 1,978 social enterprises.
- The number of social enterprises in fishing communities and the fisheries industry is 15, accounting for a mere 0.7% of the total. Despite small in size, social enterprises in fisheries sector have produced higher effect than the average in terms of sales and job creation.
▸ Given social capital of fishing communities and changing policy environment of the government, the possibility of introducing the social economy in fishing communities and the fisheries industry is forecasted to increase.
- Fishing communities are serving a unique role as a social, economic and cultural community as well as a grassroots community. In addition, fishing communities are facing an increasing need for resuming and recovering social capital, calling for the adoption of social economy as an alternative.
- In addition, the possibility of introducing the social economy into fishing communities and the fisheries industry is increasingly higher following the changes of the government’s policy environment. These changes include maintenance and improvement of local close-knit living SOC and pilot introduction of measures for invigorating social fisheries industry.
▸ However, following elements are pointed as major limitations in introducing the social economy in fishing communities and the fisheries industry.
- Lack of support system: Absence of legal ground for supporting social economic organizations and the lack of support foundation for nurturing them
- Lack of awareness: Shortage of awareness for capacity as well as public and social value of local communities and conflicts of local communities etc.
▸ The study proposes four basic directions and three major strategies for invigorating the social economy in fishing communities and fisheries industry.
- Four basic directions are as follows; nurturing grassroots communities and introducing existing social economic organizations in fisheries society, building a foundation for indirect support and ecosystem for growth, strengthening the role of private sector and local governments and forming cooperation system among government departments and differentiating maritime and fisheries sector from others
- The study presents the following three major strategies; nurturing social economic organizations in the maritime and fisheries sector, establishing private-public cooperation system and invigorating the social economy. Along with these strategies, 7 implementation tasks and 15 specific tasks are suggested as follows
2) Policy suggestions and relevant activities
▸ The present study suggests the concept of social economy as well as adoption and invigoration measures applicable to fishing communities and the fisheries industry. Thereby, the study can be utilized as a basic data in suggesting policy measures for major economic problems that the government and the market cannot solve.
▸ It contributes to the establishment of policies relevant to the social economy in fishing communities and the fisheries industry by acting on a national task of ‘invigorating the social economy’ and proposing specific implementation tasks.
3) Expected benefits including policy contribution
▸ By switching fisheries-oriented economic system to social economy, the study contributes to job creation and invigoration of the economy in fishing communities.
▸ Social economy enables solving problems caused by the development of industrial capitalism and urbanization, such as aging, polarization and hollowing out of fishing communities, while improving the quality of lives in fishing villages from the economic perspective.