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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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Policy observations on certification in fisheries and aquaculture

This chapter outlines the key messages to policy makers with respect to the use of certification and labels in fisheries and aquaculture as developed in the study. Presently, around 13% of new fish products are marketed in association with some type of environmental claim. In some markets for some species, certification has become a de-facto requirement, and retailers are increasingly using them as part of their corporate social responsibility initiatives. Despite this, the evidence regarding the effectiveness of certification schemes in changing behaviour is unclear. It is also noted that consumers find themselves confused with the many labels and certification schemes that are in action on fisheries and aquaculture.

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