Fisheries and Aquaculture Certification

image of Fisheries and Aquaculture Certification

Concerns about sustainability and the effectiveness of fisheries management on the part of the public have resulted in demand from NGOs, retailers and consumers for assurances that the food they purchase has been sustainably produced. This has led to a number of private entities responding to this demand by establishing eco-labels and certification schemes that claim to provide credible information to the consumer. These labels intend to serve the interest of fishers and processors who need to transmit positive information to the consumer to maintain their markets, and serve consumers by providing information not elsewhere available.

This report considers the growing trend in information requirements for seafood products in general, and in particular to the distinct sustainability features of wild capture fisheries and aquaculture. This work refers primarily to privately-driven certification schemes which have become an established feature of the market for eco-labels in fisheries and aquaculture. The report focuses on private eco-labelling and analyzes the economics of certification schemes, discusses key issues at the interface between public authorities, private labelling schemes, business operators and consumers. Finally, main findings and messages to policy makers are addressed.

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Economics of certification schemes

This chapter outlines the theoretical foundations of certification and eco-labelling in fisheries and aquaculture. The chapter furthermore discusses the recent increase in the use of certification schemes in fisheries and aquaculture, discusses the points of view of the consumers, retailers, processors and fishers. Who are the key stakeholders in the market for certification? How do they influence the market for certification schemes? These are key questions that are examined in this chapter. The costs and benefits of the stakeholder groups with respect to certification are outlined as this will influence the incentives, or disincentives, to use certification. Another key issue addressed is the role of public authorities in the market for certification.

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