• Rendsburggade, 14

    9000 Aalborg


Organization profile

Organisation profile


The Centre for Blue Governance is a multidisciplinary social science research group focused on the interactions between people and the sea. Accordingly, we define blue governance as the formal and informal processes of collective decision-making, planning, deliberating, and capacity building by governmental, market, and civil society actors connected to marine and coastal environments. Through addressing issues of legitimacy, democracy, and sustainability in governance, we seek to improve understanding of the strategies used by people in response to social, economic, environmental, and political change. The Centre for Blue Governance is located at Aalborg University, Denmark, within the Department of Planning.

The legacy of IFM

The Centre for Blue Governance builds on the values and outstanding reputation of Innovative Fisheries Management (IFM) for social scientific expertise, analysis, and advice in international fisheries and marine governance. Founded in 1994, IFM began as an independent social scientific research and advisory institute working in fisheries management and coastal community development. In 2007, IFM merged with Aalborg University (AAU), becoming a research centre within the Department of Planning, with an expanded research focus beyond fisheries management to include other maritime sectors and issues of marine governance. This expansion has led to a new articulation of the group as the Centre for Blue Governance in 2019. The Centre for Blue Governance encompasses and promotes the social science and policy expertise and interests developed and held by IFM.


Political and environmental changes affect and alter the relationships between people and the sea. The Centre for Blue Governance seeks to understand interconnected cultures and relationships to marine environments, space, and resources, and how political and environmental changes and their respective impacts manifest. The Centre analyses how coastal communities, governments, international organisations, and industry adapt to, seek to alter, and govern these changes. Through our research, we aim to advance social sciences in the field of blue governance and develop innovative approaches, both theoretical and applied, that align with the principles of sustainability, democracy, and legitimacy.


We envision that blue governance should contribute to aims of sustainability, democracy, and legitimacy. To achieve this, the Centre for Blue Governance strives to:

  • Foster a network of scholars actively and effectively engaged in research on blue governance;
  • Advance the Centre’s reputation and legacy of IFM as a leader in marine social science, building upon fisheries and community-focussed research themes;
  • Develop methodologies and theories that bridge disciplines and institutions to contribute to our aims of legitimate, democratic, and sustainable modes of blue governance;
  • Effectively engage with society to ensure the relevance, use, and uptake of research to implement approaches and methodologies.

Fingerprint The fingerprint consists of concepts related to the research profile of the unit and associated persons. It is updated automatically, when new content is added.

fishery Social Sciences
fishery management Earth & Environmental Sciences
stakeholder Earth & Environmental Sciences
governance Agriculture & Biology
fisheries management Agriculture & Biology
fisheries Agriculture & Biology
Common Fisheries Policy Earth & Environmental Sciences
management Social Sciences

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Projects 1994 2021

Smag for Bæredygtig Fisk

Hegland, T. J., Smink, C. K. & Autzen, M. H.


Project: Research

Preserving and sustainably governing cultural heritage and landscapes in european coastal and maritime regions

Delaney, A. E., Ounanian, K., Hansen, C. J., Jensen, C., Toonen, H. M., A.J. Lamers, M., Kraan, M., Witteveen, L., Taylor, S., Bellshaw, S., Flannery, W., Murtagh, B., Ellis, G., Ferguson, L., Pita, C., Alves, F., Martins, F., Lillebo, A., Costa, C., Albuquerque, H., da Silva, M. F., Fox, C., Martino, S., Koutrakis, M., Mylona, D., Sapounidis, A., Kenter, J., Azzopardi, E., Anderson-Morrison, I. & Cambridge, H.


Project: Research

Research Output 1993 2019

An ocean of concepts - Why choosing between ecosystem-based management, ecosystem-based approach and ecosystem approach makes a difference

Kirkfeldt, T. S., 17 May 2019, In : Marine Policy. 103541.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

ecosystem approach
ecosystem management

Existential fisheries dependence: Remaining on the map through fishing

Ounanian, K., Oct 2019, In : Sociologia Ruralis. 59, 4, p. 810-830 21 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

participant observation

Activities 1999 2019

GLOSS: Global Ocean Social Sciences - a UN Ocean Decade Event

Kristen Ounanian (Participant)
5 Nov 20196 Nov 2019

Activity: Attending an eventOrganisation or participation in workshops, courses, or seminars

GLOSS: Global Ocean Social Sciences - a UN Ocean Decade Event

Troels Jacob Hegland (Participant)
5 Nov 20196 Nov 2019

Activity: Attending an eventConference organisation or participation

Press / Media

Ekspertinterview: Bomtrawlere i Jammerbugten

Troels Jacob Hegland


1 Media contribution

Press/Media: Press / Media

Bølgende debat om havbrug i Kattegat

Rikke Becker Jacobsen


1 item of Media coverage

Press/Media: Press / Media