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Mapping core values and ethical principles for livelihoods in Asia

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Abstract

In this paper the authors present the concepts of and describe the method used in field work connected to the development of an ‘Ethical Aquaculture Food Index’ (EAFI), as part of the EC-funded project, Sustaining Ethical Aquaculture Trade (SEAT). This project looks at the trade of aquaculture products from Asia to Europe, with a focus on four Asian countries; Bangladesh, Vietnam, Thailand and China. It is motivated by fair trade and a perceived disconnect between the expectations of European consumers, with regard to product quality, traceability and sustainability for instance, and the values and interests of Asian producers. The EAFI will represent a framework of measures that indicate whether trade is fulfilling the values of producers and consumers alike, according to ethical principles of relevance in Asia and Europe. We thus sought to map the stakeholder realities in Asia, as the landscape of key values and ethical principles. Interviews were initiated from late 2010 into spring 2011, to reveal stakeholders’ core values and ethical principles linked to livelihood, society and the environment for instance. Three techniques were used as practical research tools for this field work. One was the use of pictures and verbal descriptions for ranking of possible value options. This was done due to the level of illiteracy among the informants, but also due to the general complexity and intricacy of such value questions. Another technique was the use of scenarios to ease the understanding and description of current and future value realities related to aquaculture. The third technique was the use of stories to reveal the informants’ stand regarding some ethical principles including precaution, polluter pays, fairness, equality, care for next generation and animal rights, without using academic or bookish terms.

Keywords

sustainable fair trade index aquaculture field work 

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Copyright information

© Wageningen Academic Publishers 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.University of Bergen, Centre for the Study of the Sciences and HumanitiesBergenNorway

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