Comparing the ethics of capture fisheries and aquaculture

  • M. E. Lam


The fish sector (wild or capture fisheries and aquaculture) is an important global source of food, income, livelihood, and culture. Aquaculture currently supplies 42% of the world fish production and is predicted to soon eclipse capture fisheries. The balance between these two production systems in supporting global seafood consumption has serious implications for food security, income distribution, ecosystem services, and overall sustainability. Here, the ethics and sustainability of capture fisheries and aquaculture will be analyzed and compared. An innovative practical ethics approach will be presented which adapts the ethical matrix, a conceptual tool that analyzes the welfare, freedom, and justice of different interest groups, and Rapfish, a semi-quantitative, rapid appraisal technique used to evaluate the sustainability of fisheries. In analyzing the ethics of seafood production and consumption, the roles of the law, market, and citizen are emphasized. Based on rapid appraisal case studies of large- and small-scale capture fisheries and carnivorous and omnivorous finfish aquaculture, it is argued that all three are essential for creating ethical and sustainable seafood production systems.


ethical matrix food security harm principle Rapfish sustainability 


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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Fisheries CentreUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  2. 2.Department of BiologyUniversity of New MexicoxxxUSA
  3. 3.University of New MexicoAlbuquerqueUSA

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