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Special Issue "Seafood Sustainability"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Sustainable Use of the Environment and Resources".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Naresh C. Pradhan

New England Fishery Management Council, Newburyport, Massachusetts, USA
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Interests: Natural Resource Economics; Marine Fisheries Management; Business; Public Policy
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Stephen M. Stohs

NOAA Fisheries, Southwest Fisheries Science Center, La Jolla, California, USA
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Interests: Marine Fisheries Economics; Estimation of Rare Event Phenomena; Economic Costs of Regulation
Co-Guest Editor
Dr. Junning Cai

Fisheries and Aquaculture Department, Food and Agricultural Organization, Rome, Italy
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Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Seafood has long been an important source of income in many coastal communities and a staple food in nations around the world. Seafood demand is ever growing over a widening share of populations in modern economies due to its nutritional and health benefits. Both aggregate and per capita consumption of seafood have steadily increased along with growing affluence in many developing nations. To keep pace with consumption demand, seafood production has increased significantly over time through rapid growth in aquaculture production, innovation in more efficient fishing and processing technologies, and through investment in larger production capacity. Markets for seafood have expanded during the past century, as consumer preferences have changed with increasing awareness of the benefits from seafood and more choice of fish species and products. New developments in international trade, investing environment, marketing, supply chains, information technology, transportation, etc., have made seafood accessible and affordable to an increasing share of the global population.

Solid growth in the seafood sector has given rise to challenges in the management and conservation of fishery resources. Wild capture fisheries continue to provide the majority of seafood supply. In the past, many fishing operations faced sustainability issues, primarily due to overfishing and associated bycatch. For several reasons, various fisheries around the world have collapsed or face the brink of collapse, while others which previously collapsed are slowly rebuilding or operating significantly below their historical highs. Overfishing is typically addressed with single-species assessments which provide the basis for output and effort control measures such as catch limits, harvest quota, gear types, rights-based management or catch shares, limited access, limits on fishing days, temporal, or spatial, including the establishment of marine sanctuaries or reserves. Unilateral management measures are appropriate to regulate fishing pressure in domestic waters, while bilateral and multilateral agreements among fishing nations, are necessary to manage transboundary fisheries that are more difficult to negotiate. In the absence of cooperative and binding or enforceable agreements, seafood sustainability may be at considerable risk when some nations race for high historical catches to secure larger share of harvest quotas in high seas fisheries. The same holds true for fishermen in domestic fisheries as well as in sharing a limited fishing ground between neighboring countries.

Bycatch of undesirable species including juvenile fish, compounded in some cases by information asymmetries, where fishermen have different information about bycatch than regulators, has been a pressing issue over the last few decades. Regulatory authorities have been unable to adequately and uniformly address bycatch externalities across regions or jurisdictions. Efforts have been made to manage these externalities with better harvesting techniques and monitoring mechanisms, but in many fisheries, regulatory measures intended to limit bycatch have resulted in underutilization of fishery resources even when stocks are healthy, or a transfer of demand and associated fishing effort to relatively less regulated fisheries. Sustainability issues coupled with uncertainties associated with fisheries operations caused many participants to exit from a fishery for other endeavors. Other aspects of seafood sustainability such as the role of smart technologies, social media, or consumer trends in seafood consumption including utilization of underutilized fish species, seafood certifications, etc., can be significant contributors to seafood sustainability. Better management and technological measures for efficient harvesting to overcome overfishing and reduce bycatch will remain of paramount importance. Bilateral and multilateral cooperation will be very important to achieving global seafood sustainability through better management of transboundary fishery resources.

The science behind intricate interrelationships and interdependencies among various living organisms in a fishery is yet to be fully understood. An ecosystem-based fisheries management approach has been proposed in recent decades as a panacea for ecological and conservation concerns, but such developments have been limited to theoretical discussion with few if any pragmatic commercial fisheries management outcomes to date. Ecosystem component species considered as inedible for human consumption in some jurisdictions may have been used in other jurisdictions as intermediate goods in the production of other terrestrial sources of protein. Such practice might have resulted in depletion of marine resources. More recently the seafood sector has faced numerous emerging issues such as anthropogenic sea warming, acidification, hypoxia, marine debris and chemical pollution, etc., impacting the quality and abundance of fish in the fishing ground. Recent reports have documented changes to the distribution of fishes and degradation of marine habitat. Illegal, unreported, and unregulated (IUU) fishing and seafood fraud also remain big challenges. Some nations have attempted to address the IUU issue, but the success of these efforts largely depends on international cooperation by fishing entities and national authorities.

The government’s role in fisheries along with responsibility and accountability of other stakeholders has been increasingly important in the growth and stability of seafood supply. What was once thought of as the ocean’s unlimited bounty may no longer be a realistic case for many fisheries in the foreseeable future, as our ocean’s vulnerability to complex, multi-faceted externalities becomes increasingly apparent. Many current challenges with seafood are not new, but they remain to be satisfactorily resolved. Additional challenges to sustainability can be expected in the foreseeable future, given ever increasing global seafood demand.

Aquaculture has recently been one of the fastest growing seafood production sector, now contributing about 44 percent of all seafood. However, the impressive aquaculture growth for the world as a whole primarily reflects rapid aquaculture development only in few Asian countries. Aquaculture is still an underutilized technology contributing a mere fraction of domestic seafood production in many other nations. Identifying major limiting factors is a critical issue for these countries as they develop their underexploited potential in aquaculture. Countries with an advanced aquaculture sector face various problems such as diseases, including the evolution of disease-resistant organisms also affecting wild fish, environmental degradation, climate change impacts on aquaculture, increasingly stringent regulations, etc. A key issue for them is how to maintain sustainable aquaculture development in the face of these challenges. Since aquaculture intensively utilizes vast amount of land, water, energy and labor, the competition for these fixed or less elastic resources with other economic sectors might become stiffer with further aquaculture development. While some regions or countries might have comparative advantages over others, increasing competition for factors of production along with inflationary pressures and other unforeseen issues might impede the expansion of aquaculture to its full potential.

In this special edition on seafood sustainability, we will focus on harvesting and consumption issues surrounding sustainable marine fisheries. We seek papers that will identify successful drivers of sustainable seafood through the dynamic oceanographic, biological, ecological, technological, economic, social, management and regulatory approaches. Besides addressing traditional capture fisheries issues such as overfishing or bycatch, we will consider responses to emerging issues such as climate impacts on fisheries. We further seek papers focusing on environment-friendly aquaculture technologies and practices, aquaculture adaption to climate changes, sustainable aquaculture role in nutrition, food security and employment, social licensing and the public image of aquaculture, policy planning and governance in aquaculture development, and other sustainable aquaculture topics. Lessons from successes and failures will pave a path for future seafood sustainability. An optimal combination of seafood from marine and aquaculture sources will eventually be needed to satisfy ever increasing seafood demand while utilizing and conserving both terrestrial and ocean resources. Innovative practices in managing, conserving, developing or rebuilding marine fishery resources and aquaculture production sustainably in a dynamic environment ultimately offer the potential to optimize the contribution of seafood production to societal welfare. This endeavor will require a strong public-private partnership between government agencies, NGOs and private stakeholders.

Dr. Naresh C. Pradhan
Dr. Stephen M. Stohs
Dr. Junning Cai
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1700 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

Keywords

  • Seafood Sustainability
  • Marine Fisheries and Aquaculture Production
  • Sustainable Fisheries and Aquaculture Management
  • Seafood Production, Consumption Demand and Supply Chains
  • Environment-Friendly Aquaculture Technologies and Practices
  • Externalities and Adaptation to Climate Changes
  • Ocean and Aquaculture Governance
  • Domestic and International Fisheries
  • International Trade

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle
Fishing Community Sustainability Planning: A Roadmap and Examples from the California Coast
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1904; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071904
Received: 28 December 2018 / Revised: 2 February 2019 / Accepted: 12 March 2019 / Published: 30 March 2019
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Abstract
Fishing communities are facing a variety of challenges including declines in participation, reduced access to fish resources, aging physical infrastructure, gentrification, competition from foreign imports, the “graying” or aging of their fleets, along with a host of environmental stressors. These factors can represent [...] Read more.
Fishing communities are facing a variety of challenges including declines in participation, reduced access to fish resources, aging physical infrastructure, gentrification, competition from foreign imports, the “graying” or aging of their fleets, along with a host of environmental stressors. These factors can represent threats to the continued viability of individual fishing communities. Such communities are clearly in need of tools that will enable them to plan strategically and to be more proactive in charting a sustainable future. This manuscript provides a roadmap for how to engage fishing communities in a bottom-up strategic planning process termed “fishing community sustainability planning” by describing implementation efforts in four diverse California ports: Morro Bay, Monterey, Shelter Cove, and Eureka. The process draws from the literature on sustainability and community development to assess fishing community sustainability around four broad categories: economics and markets; social and community; physical infrastructure and critical services; environment and regulation. Process steps included developing a project team and community coalition, analyzing baseline data, conducting interviews with waterfront stakeholders, hosting public workshops, and drafting a Fishing Community Sustainability Plan (FCSP) that includes concrete recommendations for how a community’s fishing industry and waterfront can be improved. Experiences from the four ports reveal that fishing community sustainability planning can be adapted to a variety of contexts and can contribute tangible benefits to communities. However, there are limitations to what community-scale planning can achieve, as many regulatory decisions that affect communities are enacted at the state or national level. Combining community-level planning with scaled-up fishing community sustainability planning efforts at the state and federal level could help overcome these limitations. FCSP planning is one tool fishing communities should consider as they seek to address threats and plan for their long-term viability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Willingness-to-Pay for Sustainable Aquaculture Products: Evidence from Korean Red Seabream Aquaculture
Sustainability 2019, 11(6), 1577; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11061577
Received: 16 February 2019 / Revised: 11 March 2019 / Accepted: 11 March 2019 / Published: 15 March 2019
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Abstract
A New Ecological Paradigm scale was used as a measurement tool to determine consumer perception of the environment through the context of red seabream (Pagrus major) aquaculture and the use of copper-alloy nets. To identify the underlying dimension of consumer perception, [...] Read more.
A New Ecological Paradigm scale was used as a measurement tool to determine consumer perception of the environment through the context of red seabream (Pagrus major) aquaculture and the use of copper-alloy nets. To identify the underlying dimension of consumer perception, exploratory factor analysis was conducted, which showed that consumer perception comprised two dimensions—nature and balance, and human dominance—yielding two indicators as independent variables for a contingent valuation method estimation. The estimation results indicate that demographic variables and one consumer perception variable (i.e., the human dominance indicator) are insignificant. However, the economic variable, one consumer perception variable (i.e., nature and balance), and seafood preference are significant. Finally, willingness-to-pay was estimated for sustainable aquaculture products by comparing the mean willingness-to-pay within New Ecological Paradigm-level groups. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
The Sustainability Conundrum of Fishmeal Substitution by Plant Ingredients in Shrimp Feeds
Sustainability 2019, 11(4), 1212; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11041212
Received: 2 December 2018 / Revised: 13 February 2019 / Accepted: 15 February 2019 / Published: 25 February 2019
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Abstract
Aquaculture is central in meeting expanding global demands for shrimp consumption. Consequently, increasing feed use is mainly responsible for the overall environmental impact of aquaculture production. Significant amounts of fishmeal are included in shrimp diets, causing dependency on finite marine resources. Driven by [...] Read more.
Aquaculture is central in meeting expanding global demands for shrimp consumption. Consequently, increasing feed use is mainly responsible for the overall environmental impact of aquaculture production. Significant amounts of fishmeal are included in shrimp diets, causing dependency on finite marine resources. Driven by economic incentives, terrestrial plant ingredients are widely viewed as sustainable alternatives. Incremental fishmeal substitution by plant ingredients in shrimp feed was modeled and effects on marine and terrestrial resources such as fish, land, freshwater, nitrogen, and phosphorus were assessed. We find that complete substitution of 20–30% fishmeal totals could lead to increasing demand for freshwater (up to 63%), land (up to 81%), and phosphorus (up to 83%), while other substitution rates lead to proportionally lower impacts. These findings suggest additional pressures on essential agricultural resources with associated socio-economic and environmental effects as a trade-off to pressures on finite marine resources. Even though the production of shrimp feed (or aquafeed in general) utilizes only a small percentage of the global crop production, the findings indicate that the sustainability of substituting fishmeal by plant ingredients should not be taken for granted, especially since aquaculture has been one of the fastest growing food sectors. Therefore, the importance of utilizing by-products and novel ingredients such as microbial biomass, algae, and insect meals in mitigating the use of marine and terrestrial resources is discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Developing Harvest Strategies to Achieve Ecological, Economic and Social Sustainability in Multi-Sector Fisheries
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 644; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030644
Received: 14 December 2018 / Revised: 22 January 2019 / Accepted: 23 January 2019 / Published: 26 January 2019
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Abstract
Ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM) provides a framework to achieve ecological, economic and social sustainability in fisheries. However, developing harvest strategies to achieve these multiple objectives is complex. This is even more so in multi-sector multi-species fisheries. In our study, we develop such [...] Read more.
Ecosystem based fisheries management (EBFM) provides a framework to achieve ecological, economic and social sustainability in fisheries. However, developing harvest strategies to achieve these multiple objectives is complex. This is even more so in multi-sector multi-species fisheries. In our study, we develop such harvest strategies for the multi-species Coral Reef Fin Fish Fishery (CRFFF) operating in the waters of Australia’s Great Barrier Reef. The fishery includes recreational, charter and commercial sectors, and is a provider of regional employment and supplier of seafood to both local and export markets. We convened a series of stakeholder workshops and conducted surveys to identify stakeholder objectives and priorities, as well as potential harvest strategy frameworks for the fishery. These potential harvest strategies were assessed against the objectives using a further qualitative impact survey. The analysis identified which frameworks were preferred by different stakeholder groups and why, taking into account the different objective priorities and tradeoffs in outcomes. The new feature of the work was to qualitatively determine which harvest strategies are perceived to best address triple bottom line objectives. The approach is therefore potentially applicable in other complex fisheries developing harvest strategies which, by design, strive to achieve ecological, economic and social sustainability. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Estimating the Public’s Preferences for Sustainable Aquaculture: A Country Comparison
Sustainability 2019, 11(3), 569; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11030569
Received: 11 December 2018 / Revised: 16 January 2019 / Accepted: 18 January 2019 / Published: 22 January 2019
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Abstract
Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is an alternative to the monoculture of fin fish species, in which several species are combined in the production process. This can have environmental advantages such as a lower environmental impact through nutrient cycling and natural filters; and can [...] Read more.
Integrated Multi-Trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) is an alternative to the monoculture of fin fish species, in which several species are combined in the production process. This can have environmental advantages such as a lower environmental impact through nutrient cycling and natural filters; and can have economic advantages consisting of increased efficiency, product diversification and potential price premiums. In this paper, a choice experiment (CE) was conducted through an online survey in Ireland, the UK, Italy, Israel and Norway, to assess how the public makes decisions on what type of salmon or sea bream to buy based on the attributes of the product. Analysis assessed the Willingness-to-Pay (WTP) for more sustainable produced seafood using a Latent Class multinomial logit modelling approach. In the experiment, an ecolabel was used to distinguish between regularly produced (monoculture) products and sustainably produced (IMTA) products. The general public in each country showed a positive attitude towards the development of such an ecolabel and towards the payment of a price premium for the more sustainably produced salmon or sea bream. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Determinants of Catch Sales in Ghanaian Artisanal Fisheries
Sustainability 2019, 11(2), 298; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11020298
Received: 20 November 2018 / Revised: 25 December 2018 / Accepted: 4 January 2019 / Published: 9 January 2019
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Abstract
The study examined the determinants of catch sales of artisanal fishers through wealthy middle women in fishing communities of Ghana, often known as fish mothers or “fish mongers”. The effects of selected variables were examined with a double hurdle model. Self-financing was found [...] Read more.
The study examined the determinants of catch sales of artisanal fishers through wealthy middle women in fishing communities of Ghana, often known as fish mothers or “fish mongers”. The effects of selected variables were examined with a double hurdle model. Self-financing was found to negatively affect the fishers’ sale of fish catch through fish mothers. The fishers were 19% less likely to sell to fish mothers if they self-finance, and that self-financing will result in a 10% downward unconditional change on the percentage of fish sold to the fish mothers. Factors that positively influenced the sale of fish catch through the fish mothers were price, percentage of high value fishes, size of boat, fishing experience, and number of fishing trips conducted in a year. The estimated average partial effects of boat size had the strongest effect with about 146% and 91% change, respectively on conditional and unconditional effect on the percentage of catch sales sold through the fish mothers. Overall, the study shows that long-term consistent economic and investment considerations such as investing in larger boats are important drivers for fishers’ choice of selling catches through fish mothers. The main implication of the results is that fishers need some economic leverage such as access to formal capital and financial resources to incentivize them to exercise control over their marketing activities so that they can receive a higher profit from their fishing operations. This is important for the sustainability of coastal fisheries communities and the sector as a whole. Artisanal fishers need resources such as low interest loans and market information systems that will enable them to negotiate prices for their fish catch with fish mothers. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
Open AccessArticle
Sustainability Descriptive Labels on Farmed Salmon: Do Young Educated Consumers Like It More?
Sustainability 2018, 10(7), 2397; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10072397
Received: 13 May 2018 / Revised: 5 July 2018 / Accepted: 7 July 2018 / Published: 10 July 2018
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (513 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Despite the efforts to make fish sustainable, it is largely unknown if young educated consumers’ taste of fish and their willingness to pay more for fish is influenced by positively framed messages regarding sustainable farming practices. This research investigated if a positively framed [...] Read more.
Despite the efforts to make fish sustainable, it is largely unknown if young educated consumers’ taste of fish and their willingness to pay more for fish is influenced by positively framed messages regarding sustainable farming practices. This research investigated if a positively framed description of sustainable farming opposed to positively framed descriptions of flavour, health benefits, or socially responsible farming, influences young consumers’ liking, and willingness to pay for farmed salmon. Young consumers of fish (n = 119) randomly tasted Fresh and hot Smoked salmon and rated their liking and willingness to pay more on structured line scales. The salmon were labelled with either a description of sustainable farming practices, flavour benefits, nutrition/health benefits, socially responsible farming practices, or no descriptions. Descriptive labelling about Sustainability (p = 0.04), Flavour (p = 0.01), and Health/nutrition (p = 0.01) significantly increased consumers’ liking of Fresh salmon compared to Fresh salmon without labelling. No such a difference was found between the social responsibility label and the sample without labels (p = 0.2). Participants were willing to pay more for 250 g of Fresh and Smoked Salmon with descriptive labels (Fresh: $9.3 ± $0.003; Smoked: $10.1 ± $0.003), than for the same Salmon without such labels (Fresh: $9.0 ± $0.06; Smoked: $9.8 ± $0.08) (p < 0.001). The sustainability descriptive label had no added benefit above other descriptive labels. The liking and buying intent were, for all labels and fish types, strongly correlated (r = 0.80, p < 0.001). In conclusion, sustainability labelling is promising, but does not differentiate from other positively framed messages. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
Flame Retardant Contamination and Seafood Sustainability
Sustainability 2018, 10(4), 1070; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10041070
Received: 7 February 2018 / Revised: 24 March 2018 / Accepted: 26 March 2018 / Published: 4 April 2018
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Abstract
A growing body of evidence for chemical contamination in seafood has raised concerns about the safety of seafood consumption. Available data also indicate that some fishery stocks that are overharvested are also the most laden with certain contaminants. Flame retardant chemicals, used in [...] Read more.
A growing body of evidence for chemical contamination in seafood has raised concerns about the safety of seafood consumption. Available data also indicate that some fishery stocks that are overharvested are also the most laden with certain contaminants. Flame retardant chemicals, used in textiles, plastics, and other products are a class of these seafood contaminants that are particularly concerning as they are linked to cancer and endocrine disruption. To investigate the potentially useful relationship between fishery sustainability and flame retardant concentration in seafood, we used polybrominated diphenyl ethers (PBDEs) as a case study to assess how fishery status and species vulnerability coincide with levels of brominated flame retardants found in the tissue of popularly consumed fish. While none of our metrics of sustainability showed strong relationships to PBDE contamination rates, our results suggest that the same intrinsic biological and ecological traits, which facilitate the uptake of chemicals, also contribute to how species respond to fishing pressures. Given the dual challenges of ensuring seafood sustainability and protecting human health, we then explored the implications of bundling the public good of conservation with the private good of health. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Open AccessArticle
The Sustainable Seafood Movement Is a Governance Concert, with the Audience Playing a Key Role
Sustainability 2018, 10(1), 180; https://doi.org/10.3390/su10010180
Received: 3 November 2017 / Revised: 13 December 2017 / Accepted: 4 January 2018 / Published: 12 January 2018
Cited by 3 | PDF Full-text (1572 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
Private standards, including ecolabels, have been posed as a governance solution for the global fisheries crisis. The conventional logic is that ecolabels meet consumer demand for certified “sustainable” seafood, with “good” players rewarded with price premiums or market share and “bad” players punished [...] Read more.
Private standards, including ecolabels, have been posed as a governance solution for the global fisheries crisis. The conventional logic is that ecolabels meet consumer demand for certified “sustainable” seafood, with “good” players rewarded with price premiums or market share and “bad” players punished by reduced sales. Empirically, however, in the markets where ecolabeling has taken hold, retailers and brands—rather than consumers—are demanding sustainable sourcing, to build and protect their reputation. The aim of this paper is to devise a more accurate logic for understanding the sustainable seafood movement, using a qualitative literature review and reflection on our previous research. We find that replacing the consumer-driven logic with a retailer/brand-driven logic does not go far enough in making research into the sustainable seafood movement more useful. Governance is a “concert” and cannot be adequately explained through individual actor groups. We propose a new logic going beyond consumer- or retailer/brand-driven models, and call on researchers to build on the partial pictures given by studies on prices and willingness-to-pay, investigating more fully the motivations of actors in the sustainable seafood movement, and considering audience beyond the direct consumption of the product in question. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Seafood Sustainability)
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Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: Are fisheries certification schemes alternative or complementary approach to command-and-control policies?: Perspective from regional fisheries certification scheme

Author: Hiroe Ishihara,Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Science, University of Tokyo

Abstract: Fisheries certification schemes claim to be a market-based approach which are more efficient and effective policy tool for ensuring the sustainability of marine ecosystem compared to traditional command-and-control approaches. It aims to provide sustainable choices to the consumers by providing alternative seafood product produced through the sustainable fishery. This paper argues that fisheries certification schemes are not alternatives to government policies but rather a complementary to it by focusing on the recently developed regional certification schemes, such as Alaska’s ‘Responsible Fisheries Management (RFM)’, ‘Iceland Responsible Fisheries (IRF)’ and French ‘Pêche Durable’. It reveals that the establishment of third-party certification requires heavy dependence on government funds and government initiatives. I argue that the future of fisheries certification scheme lies not in its efficiency or effectiveness, but rather in the fact that they enable to develop a relationship between the consumers and the producers.

Keywords: Fisheries certification, seafood sustainability, market-based approach, neo-liberal discourse, regional fisheries certification

 

Title: Sustainability road maps:  MSC certification as a framework for environmental improvement in fisheries in Africa

Author: Oluyemisi Oloruntuyi, Marine Stewardship Council

Abstract: Fishery certification is increasingly employed as a multi-stakeholder, market-based mechanism to promote sustainability of fisheries. About 10% of global fisheries are certified to the Marine Stewardship Council standard. Contribution to   volume of MSC certified fisheries from Africa is low. Some constraints behind this include inadequacies in fisheries management, limited availability of data to assess and manage fisheries and detrimental impact of fishing activity on resources. These challenges often mean fisheries can’t immediately meet sustainability requirements for certification. To overcome these constraints a number of developing country fisheries employ an approach that involves using the MSC certification standard and process as a collaborative framework for gap analysis, action planning,   progress tracking and ultimately improvement.   Fisheries improvement projects are developed, which outline road maps towards certification. Specific roles and responsibilities are identified and commitments secured from partners within and outside the fishery to implement components of the road map.  These roadmaps provide a structured framework that allow focus of efforts on specific activities. Progress towards the desired endpoint   can be tracked and measured over time.  Some of the reported benefits of this approach include clarity of objectives   in the design of activities aimed at improving sustainability, consolidation and focus of stakeholder efforts, participatory stakeholder engagement, ability to attract additional resources and investment in support of improvement in fisheries and ultimately improved environmental performance. This paper discusses the uptake of pre- MSC certification improvement projects in Africa, including in the Western Indian ocean region. It outlines the results and outcomes and progress being made towards certification in   these multi-stakeholder improvement projects. It   highlights of the successes and challenges associated with implementation.  The paper concludes that pre-MSC certification improvement projects can play a significant role in regional efforts to improve sustainability and profitability of fisheries in Africa.

 

Title: Fishing Community Sustainability: A Framework and Planning Examples from the California Coast

Authors: Laurie Richmond1*, Robert Dumouchel1, Henry Pontarelli2, Kathryn Gillick2, Laura Casali1, Wyatt Smith1 (1. Humboldt State University; 2. Lisa Wise Consulting, Inc)

Abstract: Typically conversations about fisheries sustainability focus on the status of fish stocks and resources. However, a conversation about sustainability might also consider the status of communities who rely on fish resources for a variety of economic, social, and cultural purposes. In this paper we introduce the concept of fishing community sustainability which requires a focus on both the sustainability of fish resources and the various socioeconomic processes that are connected to those resources. While having healthy fish resources is a prerequisite for fishing community sustainability, it does not guarantee it. In additional to ecological threats, fishing communities are facing a number of socioeconomic challenges. Fishing communities throughout the nation and in California in particular are facing rising costs, stagnant market prices, competition from foreign imports, shifts in consumer preferences, declines in participation, and aging physical infrastructure. Many fishing communities are also experiencing a “graying of the fleet” where the average age of commercial fishermen is rising as there are fewer and fewer new entrants. All these factors lead to concerns about the long-term viability of commercial fishing in the U.S. and highlight the importance of strategic planning to develop a roadmap that fortifies opportunities and mitigates for constraints. Drawing from a review of literature related to fishing communities, coastal resilience, community planning, and sustainable business, we present a framework for addressing the concept of fishing community sustainability. The framework incorporates, as its foundation, a triple-bottom line approach that includes economic, social, and environmental considerations. Next, we describe the steps of an inclusive process that has been used to successfully engage fishing communities to find consensus and map the long-term viability of their ports and industries. Key steps in the process include: formation of a stakeholder steering committee; secondary data collection and analysis; one-on-one interviews with waterfront stakeholders; and collaborative planning meetings and workshops. Finally we highlight findings and lessons learned from fishing community sustainability planning processes conducted in four diverse California ports: Morro Bay, Monterey, Eureka, and Shelter Cove. Findings suggest that community sustainability planning is a tool that can be adapted to fit a variety of contexts and scales. If plans are given the appropriate backing by local government entities, the process can lead to measurable benefits and contribute to a sense of hope and optimism in settings plagued by disillusionment. Further, to be truly effective, sustainability planning at the community level must be embedded in efforts at regional, state, and national levels as many policies and regulations that affect fishing communities are enacted there. Ports and harbor districts have successfully compounded the effectiveness of local sustainability plans by engaging state and federal regulators and oversight agencies, through on-going communication, sharing findings and providing the final report as a resource for decision making.

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