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Efficiency vs resilience: The rise and fall of the German brown shrimp fishery in times of COVID 19

In times of world crisis such as climate change and the COVID pandemic much has been said about the need for resilience. However, in scenarios of less concern about crisis the leading paradigm is often that of efficiency. The current study shows how efficiency might have got on the way of achieving the necessary resilience to face the COVID 19. With the example of the German brown shrimp fishery in the North Sea the interaction between those two paradigms – efficiency and resilience – is shown in the context of the COVID 19 pandemic. For instance, the quest of efficiency for rationalisation may reduce the resources available to set aside buffers to resist shocks, and the standardisation key to efficiency may also hinder more diversity and hence open innovation for solutions to the crisis, all characteristics of resilient organisations. By making use of a literature review including peer reviewed, grey literature and web media as well as of interviews with experts and quantitative data the value chain of the German brown shrimp fishery is analysed under the conceptual framework of organisational resilience. Results: show that, despite being more oriented towards efficiency, the German fleets does not show particularly good results in selected efficiency indicators. Additionally, key stages of the value chain as processing and commercialisation together with the investment strategy fail to present some commonly accepted components of resilient organisations, such as redundancy, flexibility, adaptability, diversity, prudence and embeddedness. Despite developments in the direction of sustainability with the MSC certification, the German fleet should pay attention to its capacity to face disturbances, which should be supported by a more long-term, targeted, resilience-oriented policy support.

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