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Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum
John H. Prescott Marine Laboratory, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA
Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA
* Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 2 July 2012; in revised form: 8 August 2012 / Accepted: 22 August 2012 / Published: 31 August 2012
Abstract: Globally, seafood is an important protein source because it is a nutritious food source produced with relative efficiency compared to other proteins. Because of problems related to overfishing and deleterious environmental impacts, over the last decade, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increased their focus on seafood sustainability while businesses have incorporated this issue into their corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. Sustainability is a concept that can be addressed in terms of scale of issues considered (narrow vs. broad) as well as the scope of how they are measured (undemanding or demanding). Currently, the message of seafood sustainability is becoming complicated in that the journey toward sustainability is being referred to as having achieved a state of sustainability. In addition, companies making a “sustainable” declaration are often at different points in the “scale/scope” arena. As a result, buyers, retailers and consumers have difficulty differentiating between these products. Furthermore, they often assume that a “sustainable” product has no further need for improvement, when in fact this is rarely the case. This change in reference from a continual process (a journey) to a static point (it is sustainable) limits further advances in seafood sustainability and the drive for continual improvement. Herein, the “Law of the Minimum”, growth toward an end goal will occur until one factor becomes limiting, is adopted as an analogy for sustainability. By refocusing the sustainability discussion on a progressive series of challenges to be met, the discussion will return to the journey as the central point. Doing so will help refresh the dialogue around seafood, and to create new opportunities for improvement.
Keywords: aquaculture; continual improvement; ecolabel; fisheries; law of the minimum; Liebig; phenomenology; seafood; sustainability
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Tlusty, M.; Tausig, H.; Taranovski, T.; Jeans, M.; Thompson, M.; Cho, M.; Eppling, M.; Clermont, J.J.; Goldstein, J.; Fitzsimons, E. Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum. Sustainability 2012, 4, 2038-2050.
Tlusty M, Tausig H, Taranovski T, Jeans M, Thompson M, Cho M, Eppling M, Clermont JJ, Goldstein J, Fitzsimons E. Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum. Sustainability. 2012; 4(9):2038-2050.
Tlusty, Michael; Tausig, Heather; Taranovski, Tania; Jeans, Meghan; Thompson, Matt; Cho, Michelle; Eppling, Michael; Clermont, Jason J.; Goldstein, Jennifer; Fitzsimons, Elizabeth. 2012. "Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum." Sustainability 4, no. 9: 2038-2050.