Governing Sustainable Seafood

Friday, July 18, 2014: 6:45 PM
Room: F202
Oral Presentation
Peter OOSTERVEER , Environmental Policy group, Wageningen University, Wageningen, Netherlands
The worldwide consumption of seafood is increasing year over year leading to more pressure on the remaining fishstocks and to expansion of aquaculture. The environmental consequences are substantial and create growing pressures for more adequate environmental governance responses. Recently, market-based approaches to sustainability seafood governance have gained considerable traction in global seafood provision. Born in part out of perceived failures of the state, a range of private-led governance approaches using price signals and market access as incentives for changing production practices have emerged. This paper provides an overview of these approaches in fisheries and aquaculture, including but not limited to NGO-led initiatives such as the Marine and Aquaculture Stewardship Councils (MSC and ASC), and industry-led initiatives such as GlobalG.A.P. and the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA). The paper then discusses how these arrangements have led to the inclusion of new categories of private actors in the regulation of sustainable seafood (e.g. auditors), and to a new round of contestation between NGOs and industry actors such as retailers, who are seeking to counter their own reputational risk through a series of benchmarking exercises. The paper concludes with a discussion of whether and how the investment made in these market approaches have supplemented (or even replaced) state governance arrangements in promoting sustainable seafood production and consumption in the context of globalisation.