Seafood Certification and Ecolabelling: A New Wrapping on Fisheries Resource Management? Public Deposited

http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/concern/conference_proceedings_or_journals/br86b464m

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  • With heightened media attention on the poor state of world fish stocks and the environmental impacts of aquaculture production methods, both governments and seafood industries are keen to demonstrate support for improved management measures. This paper includes results from a DFID funded project concerned with seafood certification, ecolabelling and developing economies. The focus is upon the potential implications of the shift in management power throughout the seafood value chain and the increased reliance upon market-based measures to encourage sustainable production. Certification of fishing and aquaculture operations gives consumers a cue to help distinguish between products on criteria such as sustainability, welfare, health and safety etc. The increased prevalence of certification schemes internationally can be seen as a shift in power, and potentially responsibility, from governments to consumers. It is suggested that this drift may widen as the traditional national regulators lose the power to determine international certification criteria and the public uses purchasing power to determine how their food is produced. Whilst there may be proclaimed benefits of certification and ecolabelling, the paper suggests there could also be adverse consequences for the future development of aquatic food sectors. The advent of certification as a prerequisite for international markets can impose costs, particularly in developing countries without corresponding benefits for all others along the value chain. Mixed fisheries and transboundary stocks present particular challenges to certification, whilst also being more demanding of conventional resource management measures. New species, and those new to markets, where consumers have yet to accurately signal their emergent value may encourage less stringent management measures. Improved understanding of these potential problems is vital if more effective management measures are to be delivered.
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  • Young, James A., Helen T. Sturrock and James F. Muir. 2006. Seafood Certification and Ecolabelling: A New Wrapping on Fisheries Resource Management? In: Proceedings of the Thirteenth Biennial Conference of the International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, July 11-14, 2006, Portsmouth, UK: Rebuilding Fisheries in an Uncertain Environment. Compiled by Ann L. Shriver. International Institute of Fisheries Economics & Trade, Corvallis, Oregon, USA, 2006. CD ROM. ISBN 0-9763432-3-1
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