Eco-certification of Farmed Seafood: Will it Make a Difference?
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Eco-certification is widely considered a tool for reducing environmental impacts of aquaculture, but what are the likely environmental outcomes for the world’s fastest growing animal-food production sector? This article analyzes a number of eco-certification schemes based on species choice, anticipated share of the global seafood market, size of eligible producers, and targeted environmental impacts. The potential of eco-certification to reduce the negative environmental impacts of aquaculture at scale presently appears uncertain as: (a) certification schemes currently focus on species predominantly consumed in the EU and US, with limited coverage of Asian markets; (b) the share of certified products in the market as currently projected is too low; (c) there is an inequitable and non-uniform applicability of certification across the sector; (d) mechanisms or incentives for improvement among the worst performers are lacking; and (e) there is incomplete coverage of environmental impacts, with biophysical sustainability and ecosystem perspectives generally lacking.
KeywordsEco-certification Aquaculture Seafood LCA Sustainability Environmental impacts
We thank M. Beveridge for critical reading of the manuscript and also representatives of the standard holding organizations for providing valuable information on volumes of certified seafood. M. Jonell, P. Rönnbäck, and M. Troell have benefited from funding from Sida (the Swedish International Development Cooperation Agency). This article contributes to the CGIAR Research Program on Livestock and Fish.
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