Eco-certification of Farmed Seafood: Will it Make a Difference?
- 985 Downloads
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.
- AquaGAP. 2012. Species certified by AquaGAP. http://www.aquagap.net/operators.htm. Accessed 29 Feb 2012.
- BAP. 2012. http://www.aquaculturecertification.org/. Accessed 4 Dec 2012.
- Bartley, D.M., C. Brugère, D. Soto, P. Gerber, and B. Harvey. 2007. Comparative assessment of the environmental costs of aquaculture and other food production sectors: Methods for meaningful comparisons. In FAO Fisheries Proceedings No. 10. FAO: Rome, 241 pp.Google Scholar
- Belton, B., and D.C. Little. 2011. Contemporary visions for small-scale aquaculture. In Contemporary visions for world small-scale fisheries, ed. R. Chuenpagdee, 400 pp. Delft: Eburon.Google Scholar
- Beveridge, M.C.M., L.G. Ross, and L.A. Kelly. 1994. Aquaculture and biodiversity. AMBIO 23: 497–502.Google Scholar
- Bush, S.R., and B. Belton. 2011. Out of the factory and into the fish pond: Can certification transform Vietnamese Pangasius. In Food practices in transition—Changing food consumption, retail and production in the age of reflexive modernity, ed. G. Spaargaren, P. Oosterveer, and L. Loeber, 356 pp. New York: Routledge.Google Scholar
- Corsin, F., S. Funge-Smith, and J. Clausen. 2007. A qualitative assessment of standards and certification schemes applicable to aquaculture in the Asia-Pacific region. Bangkok: RAP Publication 2007/25 APFIC/FAO, 98 pp.Google Scholar
- Environmental Law Institute. 2008. Gold standard for sustainable aquaculture ecolabel design. Technical report. Washington, DC, 107 pp.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2006. State of world aquaculture 2006. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 500. Rome: FAO, 134 pp.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2009. Measuring the contribution of small-scale aquaculture. FAO Fisheries and Aquaculture Technical Paper No. 534. Rome: FAO, 180 pp.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2010a. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2010. Rome: FAO, 197 pp.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2010b. Fishery and aquaculture statistics 2008. Rome: FAO, 72 pp.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2012a. The state of world fisheries and aquaculture 2012. Rome: FAO, 209 pp.Google Scholar
- FAO. 2012b. FishStatJ, 2012. Version 2.0.0. Aquaculture production (quantities and values) 1950–2010 (Release date: March 2012). FAO Fisheries and aquaculture department.Google Scholar
- Fischer, C., F. Aguilar, P. Jawahar, and R. Sedjo. 2005. Forest certification: Toward common standards. Discussion Paper 05-10. Resources for the Future, Washington, DC, 28 pp.Google Scholar
- Friends of the Sea. 2012. Species certified by FOS. http://www.friendofthesea.org/certified-products.asp. Accessed 29 Feb 2012.
- GlobalGAP. 2011. GlobalGAP annual report 2011. http://www.globalgap.org/cms/upload/Resources/Publications/Newsletter/120321_AR11_web-FINAL.pdf. Accessed 20 June 2012.
- GlobalGAP. 2012. Press release, European seafood exposition, Brussels 24–26 April 2012. http://www.globalgap.org/cms/front_content.php?idart=2584_. Accessed 21 June 2012.
- Hall, S.J., A. Delaporte, M.J. Phillips, M. Beveridge, and M. O′Keefe. 2011. Blue frontiers: Managing the environmental cost of aquaculture, 92. Penang: The WorldFish Center.Google Scholar
- ISEAL. 2010. Assessing the impacts of social and environmental standards systems v1.0, ISEAL code of good practice. http://www.isealalliance.org/sites/default/files/P041_ISEAL_Impacts_Codev1.0.pdf. Accessed 4 July 2012.
- Kharas, H. 2010. The emerging middle class in developing countries. OECD, Working paper no. 285, 61 pp.Google Scholar
- Khiem, N., S. Bush, N. Chau, and V. Loc. 2010. Upgrading small-holders in the Vietnamese Pangasius value chain. Final report, ODI grant number RO334. An Giang University, Wageningen University and Can Tho University.Google Scholar
- Lewis, R.R. III, M.J. Phillips, B. Clough, and D.J. Macintosh. 2003. Thematic review on coastal wetland habitats and shrimp aquaculture. Report prepared under the World Bank, NACA, WWF and FAO Consortium Program on Shrimp Farming and the Environment, 81 pp.Google Scholar
- Mcleod, E., G.L. Chmura, S. Bouillon, R. Salm, M. Björk, C.M. Duarte, C.E. Lovelock, W.H. Schlesinger, et al. 2011. A blueprint for blue carbon: toward an improved understanding of the role of vegetated coastal habitats in sequestering CO2. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 9: 552–560.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
- Millennium Ecosystem Assessment. 2005. Ecosystems and human well-being: Wetlands and water synthesis. Washington, DC: World Resources Institute, 68 pp.Google Scholar
- Phillips, M.J., M. Beveridge, F. Weirowski, W. Rogers, and A. Padiyar. 2011. Financing smallholder aquaculture enterprises. WorldFish Center Policy Brief, 2011-07, 20. Penang: The WorldFish Center, 8 pp.Google Scholar
- Potts, T., R. Brenna, C. Pita, and G. Lowrie. 2011. Sustainable seafood and eco-labelling: The marine stewardship council, UK consumers, and fishing industry perspectives. SAMS Report: 270-211 Scottish Association for Marine Science, Oban, 78 pp.Google Scholar
- Rönnbäck, P., I. Bryceson, and N. Kautsky. 2002. Coastal aquaculture development in eastern Africa and the Western Indian Ocean: Prospects and problems for food security and local economies. AMBIO 31: 537–542.Google Scholar
- Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue Global Steering Committee (ShAD). 2011. Draft standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture, version 3.0 for guidance development and field testing, 104 pp.Google Scholar
- Subasinghe, R.P., and M.J. Phillips. 2007. Aquaculture certification: A challenge for the small farmer? FAO Aquaculture Newsletter 38: 34–36.Google Scholar
- Troell, M., P. Tyedmers, N. Kautsky, and P. Rönnbäck. 2004. Aquaculture and energy use. In: The encyclopedia of energy, vol. 1, ed. C. Cleveland, 784 pp. Oxford: Elsevier.Google Scholar
- Umesh, N.R., A.B. ChandraMohan, G. Ravibabu, P.A. Padiyar, M.J. Phillips, C.V. Mohan, and B. Vishnu Bhat. 2010. Shrimp farmers in India: Empowering small-scale farmers through a cluster-based approach. In Success stories in Asian aquaculture, eds. S.S. De Silva and F.B. Davy, 214 pp. Dordrecht: Springer.Google Scholar
- Vandergeest, P., and M. Flaherty. 1999. A political ecology of shrimp aquaculture in Thailand. Rural Sociology 64: 573–596.Google Scholar
- Volpe, J.P., J. Gee, M. Beck, and V. Ethier. 2011. How green is your eco-label? Comparing the environmental benefits of marine aquaculture standards. Victoria, BC: University of Victoria, 104 pp.Google Scholar
- Ward, J.T. 2008. Measuring the success of seafood ecolabelling. In Seafood ecolabelling principles and practice, eds. J.T. Ward and B. Phillips, 472 pp. Singapore: Blackwell Publishing Ltd.Google Scholar
- Washington, S., and L. Ababouch. 2011. Private standards and certification in fisheries and aquaculture. FAO Fisheries Technical Paper No. 553. Rome: FAO, 181 pp.Google Scholar
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF). 2012. Motivation to species targeted for certification. http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/aquaculture/dialogues-faqs.html#. Accessed 29 Feb 2012.Google Scholar
- World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Switzerland and Norway. 2007. Benchmarking study on international aquaculture certification programmes. Zurich, Oslo: WWF, 74 pp.Google Scholar