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Fishing for recognition: Understanding the use of NGO guidelines in fishery improvement projects

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Fishing for recognition: Understanding the use of NGO guidelines in fishery improvement projects

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... This limited inclusion is attributed to the high cost of certification, the lack of data on fish stocks available for assessment, and the inadequate or absence of effective governance and regulatory systems [9][10][11][12]. Recognising the difficulties of DCFs to move towards certification, a range of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and private consultancy firms have developed Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), a step-wise methodology for improving fisheries practices and management that originally started in developed world contexts but is also focused on DCFs [13][14][15]. ...
... It is assumed that these FIP models have consequences for the way fishers are included in FIP programs, especially in terms of the decision of fishers to change their practices in accordance with improvement criteria. Yet, there is little empirical evidence to verify this [14,15]. ...
... However, WWF does not have influence over the price of fish. Nevertheless, supporting other observations [6,14], bottom-up comprehensive FIPs do appear to offer more durable support from government given their closer relationship during implementation. ...
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This study identifies the capabilities needed by small-scale fishers to participate in Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) for yellowfin tuna in the Philippines. The current literature provides little empirical evidence on how different models, or types of FIPs, influence the participation of fishers in their programs and the degree which FIPs are able to foster improvements in fishing practices. To address this literature gap, two different FIPs are empirically analysed, each with different approaches for fostering improvement. The first is the non-governmental organisation-led Partnership Programme Towards Sustainable Tuna, which adopts a bottom-up or development oriented FIP model. The second is the private-led Artesmar FIP, which adopts a top-down or market-oriented FIP approach. The data were obtained from 350 fishers surveyed and were analysed using two separate models run in succession, taking into consideration full, partial, and non-participation in the two FIPs. The results demonstrate that different types of capabilities are required in order to participate in different FIP models. Individual firm capabilities are more important for fishers participation in market-oriented FIPs, which use direct economic incentives to encourage improvements in fisher practices. Collective capabilities are more important for fishers to participate in development-oriented FIPs, which drive improvement by supporting fishers, fisher associations, and governments to move towards market requirements.
... This limited inclusion is attributed to the high cost of certification, the lack of data on fish stocks available for assessment, and the inadequate or absence of effective governance and regulatory systems (Constance & Bonanno, 2000;Jacquet & Pauly, 2008;Pérez-Ramírez et al., 2012a;West et al., 2011). Recognising the difficulties of DCFs to move towards certification, a range of Non-Government Organisations (NGOs) and private consultancy firms have developed Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs), a step-wise methodology for improving fisheries practices and management that originally started in developed world contexts but is also focused on DCFs (Bush & Oosterveer, 2015;Deighan & Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015). ...
... It is assumed that these FIP models have consequences for the way fishers are included in FIP programs, especially in terms of the decision of fishers to change their practices in accordance with Fisher-level decision making to participate in Fisheries Improvement Projects s for yellowfin tuna in the Philippines 55 improvement criteria. Yet, there is little empirical evidence to verify this (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015). ...
... Based on field interviews and observation, WWF serves as a facilitator outside the chain that links fishers to other seafood stakeholders. However, WWF does not have influence over the price of fish.Nevertheless, supporting other observations(Deighan & Jenkins, 2015; Tolentino-Zondervan et al.,Fisher-level decision making to participate in Fisheries Improvement Projects s for yellowfin tuna in the Philippines 81 2016 ), bottom-up comprehensive FIPs do appear to offer more durable support from government given their closer relationship during implementation. Finally, these results open up questions around the degree of complementarity and competition that might exist between FIP models in relation to inclusion and improvement. ...
... 1) Market characteristics. Certification is more attractive to companies oriented to international markets, where eco-labeled products are more in demand than in domestic markets [14,15]. 2) Civil society characteristics. ...
... In Russia, eNGOs played roles that differ from those they play in the West. There eNGOs often criticize fisheries for practices perceived as unsustainable, motivating them to make management and scientific improvements that could lead to certification [15,21]. At present, ideas about sustainabilityrelated, for instance, to an internal sustainable marketare not sufficiently prevalent in Russia to justify putting such pressure on businesses. ...
... As a result, the certified Barents Sea fisheries make considerable efforts to meet the MSC conditions via various collaborative activities with WWF and the Polar Research Institute for Fisheries and Oceanography. 15 It is also important to note that populations of the major commercial species are currently responding positively to warming temperatures, which are very pronounced in the area. Thus it is not easy to adequately estimate the effectiveness of Barents Sea management. ...
Article
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program in Russia is now well established and, in addition to fishery clients and stakeholders, involves environmental NGOs and experts familiar with the local management system. The present study aims to analyze the current status of the program and constitutes the first study covering all Russian MSC certifications. Based on certification reports and twenty semi-structured interviews with stakeholders, it was shown that problems with certification vary among fisheries. The most advanced in terms of management are the Barents Sea codfish fisheries, which are co-managed by Russia and Norway. The main concern of these fisheries is the use of bottom trawls, which may seriously affect bottom communities. The Alaska pollock fishery in the Sea of Okhotsk experienced serious pressure from rival fisheries during the certification process. In the Far East, interviewees dealing with the salmon fisheries note a high level of illegal, unreported and unregulated (IUU) fishing and insufficient scientific data for comprehensive stock assessment. For small-scale inland perch fisheries from the central part of the country, recreational and illegal fishing are important problems that are difficult to quantify. Many interviewees repeatedly mentioned communication issues, difficulties with access to scientific and management information, and the overall complexity of the MSC certification process. The study shows that important preconditions to expanding certification are making the process manageable for export-oriented companies and developing a national market for sustainable seafood.
... For example, in the recently certified Ashtamudi Lake short-neck clam (Paphia malabarica) fishery in India, the informal system of self-management was formalized during the MSC candidature period through the formation of a clam fisheries governance council and the development of a clam fisheries management plan (Mohamed, personal observation). Further, for fisheries in improvements projects (FIP), the MSC Standard provides a reliable benchmark to measure ecological performance and progress in a structured and comprehensive way (Bush et al., 2013b;Stratoudakis et al., 2015;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015). ...
... The costs of assessment for certification and certificate maintenance are meant to be supported by client fisheries and are important considerations in the decision to engage or not. Especially in the case of SSF, this cost can be a major deterrent to engaging with the MSC, or a reason to abandon the program prematurely (questionnaire replies; Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Blackmore et al., 2015). Some effort has been made by the MSC to review the speed and cost of the certification assessment process, but additional action is needed to: a Further reduce the administration costs involved in obtaining and maintaining the eco-label; b Create funding opportunities to support the administration costs for specific fishery types. ...
... To date, the main driver behind DW fisheries engaging in the certification process has been to access or secure major export markets, mainly in developed countries (Eklof, 2008;Pérez-Ramírez et al., 2012c;Sampson et al., 2015). Similarly, FIPs are mainly supported by global players and partners of the MSC based in developed countries (Bush et al., 2013b;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015) and are often focused on fisheries which supply global commodities such as tunas or shrimps. This reduces the interest in and certification potential of fisheries which have chain of custody deficiencies, are not targeting globally important seafood commodities, or are operating in DW regional or national seafood markets (e.g. ...
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the frontrunner in fisheries certification, receiving both extensive support and strong criticisms. The increasing uptake by fisheries and markets (almost 10% of world fisheries tonnage engaged by the end of 2014) has been followed by a widening pool of stakeholders interacting with the MSC. However, the applicability of the MSC approach for fisheries in the developing world (DW) remains doubtful, reinforced by a worldwide uptake skewed towards developed world fisheries. Here, a group of MSC stakeholders, with the aid of an ad-hoc questionnaire survey, reviews constraints to MSC certification in DW fisheries, evaluates solutions put forward by the MSC, and recommends actions to improve MSC uptake by DW fisheries. Recommendations to the MSC include researching and benchmarking suitable data-limited assessment methods, systematizing and making readily available the experiences of certified fisheries worldwide and constructing specific fisheries capacity-building for regional leaders. The MSC can further review the certification cost, especially for small-scale fisheries and, in partnership with other institutions, mobilize a fund to support specific DW fishery types. This fund could also support the development of market opportunities and infrastructures likely to satisfy local conditions and needs. For wider market intervention, the MSC should consider embarking on some form of vertical differentiation. Finally, for fisheries that may never move towards certification, the group identifies tools and experiences available at MSC that can improve environmental performance and governance bearing.
... However, MSC and other certification schemes have struggled to penetrate small-scale developing country fisheries (DCFs). Poor data and large upfront costs associated with fisheries assessment and the fulfillment of detailed environmental and traceability standards limit the inclusion of many DCFs, and small-scale fisheries 1 (SSF) more generally [6]. To date, only 21 DCFs are MSC certified: nine percent of MSC's total number [5]. ...
... Developed by nongovernment organizations and the private sector, FIPs make use of improved coordination and formalized agreements between stakeholders along the supply chain in order to address the sustainability challenges within a fishery. While fishers are rewarded with improved market access conditional on the uptake of more sustainable fishery practices, retailers and mid-chain actors fulfill sustainability commitments and maintain security of supply [4,6,8]. ...
... Yet these FIPs are being rewarded with market access based on de facto claims of sustainability, prior to any actual realized on the water improvements, or indeed implementation of a work plan. This continues to be problematic for both FIPs and certification schemes more broadly, promoting a race to the bottom in sustainability standards [1,6]. ...
Article
Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) have recently emerged as a mechanism to assist fishery recovery. Yet successfully expanding the FIP model into small-scale fisheries (SSF) will require modifying its design in order that it might best work within these more complex social and economic environments. Drawing on a growing understanding of what contributes to successful SSF management, as well as other similar smallholder market-based instruments, this article distils a core set of recommendations for a revised “FIP+” approach. The ‘+’ denotes a broader set of integrated and complimentary interventions that recognize the complex social and economic landscape inherent within SSF, and that SSF reform will not occur through simply raising fishers’ income alone. In order to be successful the FIP + model will need to consider investing in the following: strengthening tenure and community governance; covering upfront opportunity costs; reducing fisher vulnerability to market shocks by supporting a broader livelihood portfolio; and relaxing credit, social and human constraints within the wider context of SSFs. In addition it should do so in a manner that is conditional on improving fisheries management.
... The majority of information about FIP use has come from specific case studies (e.g. Bush et al., 2017;Deighan & Jenkins, 2015;Doddema, 2012;Duggan & Kochen, 2016;Tolentino-Zondervan, Berensten, Bush, Digal, & Oude Lansink, 2016). There have also been multiple broad reviews of FIP performance globally (e.g. ...
... As part of the pre-assessment process, the auditor may also advise on potential strategies to address identified challenges (e.g. Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). To help facilitate improvements, FIP participants should also recruit other key stakeholders to engage in the project (CASS, 2015), such as government agencies, fishing industry members, researchers and local NGOs. ...
... Previous research has also suggested that the desire for certification may influence participant's decisions about which species and gears to include in a project. In the Gulf of Mexico reef fish FIP, Deighan and Jenkins (2015) found that fishery stakeholders used pre-assessment results to identify those species that required the least amount of work to get certified and limited the FIP's scope to those species. Including additional species or gears can also significantly increase the costs of certification in terms of assessment costs and the amount of activities needed to improve performance (Bellchambers et al., 2014;Pérez-Ramírez, Phillips, Lluch-Belda, & Lluch-Cota, 2012). ...
Article
Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) are emerging as a popular market‐based means to improve fisheries sustainability and have been employed in scores of fisheries around the world; however, project ability to realize improvements has been highly variable, and little is known about how fishery and project conditions affect improvement efforts. In order to evaluate the effectiveness of the FIP model as a tool for improving diverse fisheries around the world, we compile a unique dataset of social, ecological and economic characteristics for over 60 FIPs globally, which we use to identify key attributes correlated with improvements in fishing practices, management and/or on‐the‐water outcomes. Using a random forest classifier, we identify three important attributes related to FIP effectiveness in demonstrating improvements. Specifically, FIPs are more likely to have achieved improvements with increased cumulative project time, when regional‐level management arrangements are present and when the target species has a moderate inherent vulnerability to fishing. Interestingly, improvements were not correlated with a number of expected features, including a fishery's socio‐economic setting or baseline performance against the desired sustainability standard (e.g. the Marine Stewardship Council fisheries standard). This study improves our understanding of factors related to FIP effectiveness in improving fisheries practices and management and provides key insights for practitioners into important attributes to consider when implementing the FIP model to promote fisheries sustainability.
... For example, in the recently certified Ashtamudi Lake short-neck clam (Paphia malabarica) fishery in India, the informal system of self-management was formalized during the MSC candidature period through the formation of a clam fisheries governance council and the development of a clam fisheries management plan (Mohamed, personal observation). Further, for fisheries in improvements projects (FIP), the MSC Standard provides a reliable benchmark to measure ecological performance and progress in a structured and comprehensive way (Bush et al., 2013b;Stratoudakis et al., 2015;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015). ...
... The costs of assessment for certification and certificate maintenance are meant to be supported by client fisheries and are important considerations in the decision to engage or not. Especially in the case of SSF, this cost can be a major deterrent to engaging with the MSC, or a reason to abandon the program prematurely (questionnaire replies; Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Blackmore et al., 2015). Some effort has been made by the MSC to review the speed and cost of the certification assessment process, but additional action is needed to: a Further reduce the administration costs involved in obtaining and maintaining the eco-label; b Create funding opportunities to support the administration costs for specific fishery types. ...
... To date, the main driver behind DW fisheries engaging in the certification process has been to access or secure major export markets, mainly in developed countries (Eklof, 2008;Pérez-Ramírez et al., 2012c;Sampson et al., 2015). Similarly, FIPs are mainly supported by global players and partners of the MSC based in developed countries (Bush et al., 2013b;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015) and are often focused on fisheries which supply global commodities such as tunas or shrimps. This reduces the interest in and certification potential of fisheries which have chain of custody deficiencies, are not targeting globally important seafood commodities, or are operating in DW regional or national seafood markets (e.g. ...
Article
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the frontrunner in fisheries certification, receiving both exten-sive support and strong criticisms. The increasing uptake by fisheries and markets (almost 10% of worldfisheries tonnage engaged by the end of 2014) has been followed by a widening pool of stakeholdersinteracting with the MSC. However, the applicability of the MSC approach for fisheries in the developing world (DW) remains doubtful, reinforced by a worldwide uptake skewed towards developed worldfisheries. Here, a group of MSC stakeholders, with the aid of an ad-hoc questionnaire survey, reviewsconstraints to MSC certification in DW fisheries, evaluates solutions put forward by the MSC, and recommends actions to improve MSC uptake by DW fisheries. Recommendations to the MSC include researchingand benchmarking suitable data-limited assessment methods, systematizing and making readily avail-able the experiences of certified fisheries worldwide and constructing specific fisheries capacity-buildingfor regional leaders. The MSC can further review the certification cost, especially for small-scale fisheriesand, in partnership with other institutions, mobilize a fund to support specific DW fishery types. This fundcould also support the development of market opportunities and infrastructures likely to satisfy local conditions and needs. For wider market intervention, the MSC should consider embarking on some form ofvertical differentiation. Finally, for fisheries that may never move towards certification, the group identifies tools and experiences available at MSC that can improve environmental performance and governance bearing.
... In recent years, the seafood industry and other stakeholders (e.g., NGOs) have been playing important lead roles in improving fisheries through the developing of fishery improvement projects (FIPs) that include design and implementation of best fishing practices to achieve environmental sustainability (Bush et al., 2013;Cannon et al., 2018;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015). A few FIPs were launched on snapper and grouper fisheries to address specific concerns, often consisting of poor management or lack of any form of stock assessments. ...
... In recent years, the seafood industry and other stakeholders have been playing important lead roles in improving fisheries. Such fishery improvement projects (FIPs) include design and implementation of best fishing practices to achieve environmental sustainability (Bush et al., 2013;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015). A few FIPs became active on snapper and grouper fisheries to address specific issues of concern, often consisting of poor management or lack of any form of stock assessments. ...
... There are also other ecolabels for farmed fish, for example, the Friend of the Sea and NaturLand are available for both wild and farmed seafood [57]. Economic incentives for ecolabeling include increased opportunities to enter higher-valued markets, and potentially higher ex-vessel prices [58][59][60][61]. ...
... More recently, in order to meet growing commitments by retailers in developed countries to source only sustainable seafood, fisheries improvement project (FIPs) and aquaculture improvement projects (AIPs) have become increasingly prevalent. With a goal of putting fisheries or aquaculture on a path to sustainability, possibly leading to certification, FIPs and AIPs use the supply chain to provide incentives for continual improvements [59,63]. Globally, retailers source seafood based upon criteria that fish come from certified fisheries and aquaculture, or from those engaged in credible FIPs and AIPs [63]. ...
Article
Aquaculture has been the world’s fastest growing food production technology in recent decades, and continued growth in aquaculture production is predicted. While creating economic opportunity, aquaculture is also a new way of using eco-systems, and there is substantial evidence that aquaculture creates negative environmental externalities. Although the most effective way to address these externalities may be improved governance, this approach is often difficult because most aquaculture production takes place in developing countries with limited management capacity. The fact that a large part of aquaculture production is traded motivates substantial interest in the use of trade measures to reduce environmental impacts. However, the wide variety of species, production practices, and governance systems present in aquaculture makes it unlikely that general trade measures will achieve environmental objectives. Rather, there is a real risk that trade measures will reduce economic opportunity, raise new equity concerns, and impinge on public health with little or no environmental impact.
... Proactive private data collection is becoming a common feature of fishery improvement projects (FIPs). FIPs are often implemented under the guidance of an NGO partner and (often but not always) with funding from philanthropic foundations and/or importers and retailers from the EU and US [25][26][27]. A common part of many FIPs, in line with requirements for MSC certification, is the development of data collection systems that include landings enumeration and spatially allocation through vessel monitoring [27]. ...
... FIPs are often implemented under the guidance of an NGO partner and (often but not always) with funding from philanthropic foundations and/or importers and retailers from the EU and US [25][26][27]. A common part of many FIPs, in line with requirements for MSC certification, is the development of data collection systems that include landings enumeration and spatially allocation through vessel monitoring [27]. In many FIPs, improved data collection focuses on improving local or national government capacity to support private interests such as MSC (Table 1). ...
... WWF have a longstanding relationship with MSC (Kong et al., 2002;Bush et al., 2013) and have previous experience promoting the MSC certification of small-scale fisheries in developing countries, even financially supporting fisheries that cannot cover the associated costs of certification (P erez-Ram ırez et al., 2012). Thus, they could be appointed as a key facilitator in this project since previous experiences in certification indicate that NGOs may play a key role in the process (Kong et al., 2002;Bush et al., 2013;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015). For the case of the SPHF, NGOs may support the rebuilding of the fishery through several mechanisms such as awareness and social support. ...
... Since 2014, CeDePesca have been running a fisheries improvement project (FIP) for the industrial SPHF. FIPs are not part of the MSC certification but they may validate the fact that a poorly-performing fishery is improving performance to maintain access to markets (Deighan and Jenkins, 2015). The FIP for the industrial SPHF attends to rebuilding of the stock and assessing the impacts in the demersal/benthic communities. ...
Article
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification is a market-based incentive program that recognizes sustainable fisheries through a third-party assessment. This study considers a potential project to MSC-certify the small-scale sector of the South Pacific hake (Merluccius gayi gayi) fishery in Chile. Using semi-structured interviews with fishery stakeholders and bibliographic review, the study surveys the technical, stakeholder, and market barriers to certification. Barriers included an over-exploited stock, lack of information about the ecosystem, and the currently-evolving management system. In addition, noncompliance of existing norms and social arrangements within the fishery are leading to a situation where illegal fishing occurs. Even though MSC certification is positively perceived by most stakeholders, it is considered to be neither achievable by the status of the fishery nor desirable, since it cannot offer economic benefits due to the domestic market features. At present, the most constructive actions for the fishery would be to implement strong management and effective enforcement, and break-down the currently unregulated market structure, as well as empower the fishermen. Long-term efforts in these areas may be executed using the MSC Standard as a diagnostic tool to identify the improvements required to move the fishery toward better performance.
... Some improvement projects have succeeded in improving fisheries and farms to a level that complies with certification standards. However, it has been shown that improvement projects have also further increased the complexity of transactions and level of investment needed to ensure the integrity of sustainable seafood in supply chains, largely because not all FIPs and AIPs aspire to certification 64,65 . In addition, there are no coordinating mechanisms available to prevent the increasing number of sustainability schemes from creating a race to the bottom in seafood sustainability 34,66 . ...
Article
The sustainable seafood movement is at a crossroads. Its core strategy, also known as a theory of change, is based on market-oriented initiatives such as third-party certification but does not motivate adequate levels of improved governance and environmental improvements needed in many fisheries, especially in developing countries. Price premiums for certified products are elusive, multiple forms of certification compete in a crowded marketplace and certifiers are increasingly asked to address social as well as ecological goals. This paper traces how the sustainable seafood movement has evolved over time to address new challenges while success remains limited. We conclude by exploring four alternative potential outcomes for the future theory of change, each with different contributions to creating a more sustainable global seafood supply. The decades-long movement for sustainable seafood is centred on a ‘theory of change’ that emphasizes third-party initiatives for certification and consumer signalling. The evolution of that theory, and its potential futures, shows the challenges of management and co-ordination with multiple actors.
... In recent years, the seafood industry and other stakeholders have been playing important lead roles in improving fisheries. Such fishery improvement projects (FIPs) include design and implementation of best fishing practices to achieve environmental sustainability [11,17]. A few FIPs became active on snapper and grouper fisheries to address specific issues of concern, often consisting of poor management or lack of any form of stock assessments. ...
Article
The Generic Knowledge Indicator (GKI) was developed to classify the state of knowledge for worldwide fisheries regarding three main components: biological/ecological information, fishery data, and stock assessment. The data quality outcomes (data deficient, low quality, medium quality, high quality) for each of the components results from evaluating sub-criteria for precision, age, spatial scale, and accuracy, which are then combined to obtain the GKI. This framework was tested by studying of the current state of knowledge for snapper and grouper fisheries. Snapper and grouper are important fisheries resources with high commercial value, and they play an important role in the livelihoods and food security of many local communities worldwide. However, the status of many snapper and grouper stocks is unknown, particularly in the small-scale fisheries in developing countries where the reporting system is absent or insufficient. Therefore, to assess the state of knowledge for snapper and grouper, several sources of data were used: fisheries statistical data, stock assessment reports, and a review of a wide range of published studies. Results of the application of the GKI indicate that 70% of the snapper and grouper fisheries included in this study present a low knowledge outcome and only 2% of the cases presented a high outcome. Through the application of the GKI, this work presents an overview of the state of knowledge for the snapper and grouper fisheries worldwide, identifies the main gaps of knowledge, and highlights areas where research improvements are critical to ensure long-term sustainability of these resources.
... Supply-side fisheries and aquaculture improvement projects are designed to improve management, thus leading to a larger supply of certified seafood and increasing the flow of sustainable product to markets (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). Retailers and branded importers have made investments to either directly support suppliers to make improvements or outsource this support to NGOs and consultancies who provide pay-forservice guidance to fishery and aquaculture improvement projects. ...
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Seafood has emerged as a key testing ground for understanding the role of different value chain actors in driving sustainability. The conventional view, developed in the late 1990s, is that sustainable seafood is driven by the choices and practices of consumers in major importing markets, such as the United States and the European Union. This view led to the development of a range of boycott and buycott initiatives in the 2000s. Many of the buycott initiatives have been formalised into consumer-facing tools, such as certification, recommendation lists, and traceability. More recently celebrity chefs have also joined in, shaping sustainable seafood as cuisine. While these initiatives and tools initially assumed a demand-shapes-supply mode of political consumerism, they have all broadened to include multiple modes of political consumerism. The future of the sustainable seafood movement is therefore dependent on a clearer articulation of diverse modes of political consumerism.
... Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) rapidly expanded over the past decade, but academic research into their performance on addressing sustainability issues is still scant. Individual case studies have analyzed the contribution of FIPs in specific fisheries [1][2][3][4] or in a small number of similar fisheries [5,6]. A broader study of the FIP model and its performance has been carried out using relatively coarse measures of progress [7]. ...
Article
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Fishery improvement projects (FIPs) are multi-stakeholder platforms for engaging retailers, importers, processors, and others in seafood supply chains directly in the policy-making and management of fisheries. FIPs vary in design and aim, making their evaluation complex. Studies to date have highlighted successes but also raised concerns about the performance of FIPs in improving fisheries. Drawing on a comprehensive dataset of attributes on all public FIPs, combined with sustainability performance data on the management of the target fisheries, their fishing levels, and stock status, this paper evaluates the performance of FIPs worldwide on improving fisheries, using exploratory data analysis methods and regression-based statistical approaches. The results showed that FIPs improved critical problems in target fisheries in the range between 60% and 82%, depending on the sustainability criteria considered. Performance did not vary between artisanal and industrial FIPs or according to the economic development status of the country. The probability of achieving improvements in management and overfishing domains is higher for fisheries with FIPs compared to those without. Variability in performance was related to the specific characteristics and history of each FIP, based on which further steps in research were suggested.
... For example, Gupta, Grant, and Strauss (2012) refer to a need to "foster positive attitudes towards the environment and stewardship-related behaviors as these may serve as precursors to later choices that benefit the environment" (p. 1). While motivations for behavior may include ethical values (Colman, 1994;Hilts, 1993), papers coded for this theme often address motivations in terms of more instrumental and strategic interests (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015;Loftus & Kraft, 2003), emotions (Larson, Cooper, & Hauber, 2016) or social attachment (Lokocz, Ryan, & Sadler, 2011). Papers coded under Motivation appear themselves to be motivated by the potential ability to understand and predict human behavior, which might then be nurtured or 'nudged' in desirable directions (e.g. ...
Article
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Current sustainability challenges-including biodiversity loss, pollution and land-use change-require new ways of understanding, acting in and caring for the landscapes we live in. The concept of stewardship is increasingly used in research, policy and practice to articulate and describe responses to these challenges. However, there are multiple meanings and framings of stewardship across this wide user base that reflect different disciplinary purposes, assumptions and expertise, as well as a long history of use in both academic and lay contexts. Stewardship may therefore be considered a 'boundary object'; that is, a conceptual tool that enables collaboration and dialogue between different actors whilst allowing for differences in use and perception. This paper seeks to map out the multiple meanings of stewardship in the literature and help researchers and practitioners to navigate the challenges and opportunities that come with using the term. We provide the first qualitative systematic review of stewardship, and identify four distinct meanings of the concept in the literature: Ethic, Motivation, Action and Outcome. We then develop a novel framework for thinking through and connecting these multiple meanings, centered around three dimensions: care, knowledge and agency. This framework is used to identify the care dimension and relational approaches as important areas for future stewardship research. In these efforts – and for scholars engaging with the stewardship concept more broadly – this paper can act as a helpful ‘centering device’, connecting practitioners, policy-makers and researchers from multiple disciplines in pursuit of sustainability.
... NGOs, although not essential in improving fisheries management, can bridge gaps in education, training and knowledge transfers and support sustainable fisheries management and stakeholder interactions [96]. The involvement of stakeholders within these initiatives is an essential approach to generate support for improved management [6]. ...
Article
We propose a policy cycle for elasmobranch conservation and management and assessed the role and contribution of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) within this cycle on a case study basis for the Mediterranean region. Following a review of shark-related and relevant legal obligations under international and regional instruments, we classified them into ten focus areas: Capacity building, Conservation measures, Cooperation, Education and Awareness, Monitoring, Policy development and integration, Regulation, Reporting, Research, and Sustainable Management. Based on surveys and a supplementary, web-based research, we found that NGOs contribute substantially to the implementation stage of the proposed policy cycle and fulfil obligations under various legal instruments in relation to data collection, bycatch mitigation, species monitoring, identification of important areas, education and awareness. Furthermore, but to a lesser extent, NGOs are involved in the policy formulation stage as they support the development of new policies within the region. The range and extent of projects and programmes implemented varies among countries, with Spanish organisations currently implementing 25 such initiatives, followed by Bosnia and Herzegovina (14), Greece (14), and France (11), Albania (7), Croatia (6), Cyprus (6), Italy (6), Malta (5), Slovenia (4), Israel (3), Libya (3), Turkey (3), Tunisia (2), and Morocco (1).
... This practice disincentivizes the producers to increase the certified fish species or the proportion of certified product. For example, the percentage of ASC certified yellowtail in the total production remains low, around 3% for each of the ASC certified applicants (for details see Appendix B). 15 Similar issues are observed with Fisheries Improvement Project (FIP), especially in developing countries (Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Sampson et al., 2015;Travaille et al., 2019). This research shows that many FIPs do not achieve improvement in the fisheries management or the status of fish stocks as it guarantees access to EU or US markets at the early stage of the FIP (Stage 2 16 ). ...
Article
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Japanese seafood market has witnessed a slow but steadfast increase in the amount of certified seafood circulated on the market despite the fact that there are few incentives to apply for certification schemes such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). This is because it is difficult for the producers to reap benefits from the price premium as the retailers are unwilling to charge the consumers with a higher price for the certified seafood; at the same time, there are no sourcing codes set by the retailers to ban the access of uncertified seafood. By conducting semi-structured interviews with the applicants of MSC and ASC, this study reveals the motivation of the applicants such as the desire of producers to differentiate their seafood products from similar products on the market and to establish stable distribution channels with large retailers. We argue that this type of motivation poses a unique challenge in promoting sustainable seafood in Japan, that is the certified product needs to remain a small proportion of circulated seafood products.
... More than 500 fisheries were involved in such improvement projects in 2014, de facto branded with an 'MSC-minus' label that relies on the use of NGO guidelines (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). ...
Article
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Voluntary standards certifying environmental qualities of labeled products have proliferated across sectors and countries. Effectuating these standards requires the collaboration among and between creators (typically firms and non-governmental organizations) and adopters (firms across a particular supply chain). However, the need to collaborate does not rule out the presence of controversy. Drawing on the case of the Marine Stewardship Council, a leading seafood standard to conserve the world’s threatened marine fauna, we analyze how this controversy, from economic and sociologic vantage points, impacts a sustainability transition. In essence, interest divergence drives controversy over standard design, which spurs controversy over standard effectiveness and prompts the proliferation of competing standards. Controversy is magnified by the opacity or non-transparency of the fields which such standards seek to govern. We conclude that, while interest divergence and field opacity entail inherent controversy over voluntary environmental standards, the impact of this controversy on sustainability transitions is typically predominantly positive.
... The capacity of the MSC to contribute towards stabilizing improved fishery systems is limited, however, to those fisheries that pursue certification following improvement efforts, which does not always occur (e.g. Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). Over the last decade, the MSC has made a number of changes in their governance structure and certification requirements and developed a number of tools that have helped improve program access; however, many stakeholders still do not consider the MSC to be an effective system for creating change, particularly for small-scale and developing world fisheries (Stratoudakis et al., 2016). ...
Article
Seafood certification and eco-labeling programs, which leverage market forces to incentivize fisheries improvements, have changed the face of the global seafood market through an expanding supply of and demand for certified seafood. To contribute towards conservation goals, these programs employ a strategy termed the ‘theory of change, which predicts that as market demand for certified products grows, additional fisheries will improve practices and management in order to gain certification; however, there is limited evidence that this actually occurs, particularly in fisheries that require significant improvements to meet certification requirements. Here, we examine the capacity of one of the largest seafood certification programs in the world, the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), to foster transformative change in The Bahamas Caribbean spiny lobster fishery. Drawing on fishery documentation and interviews with fishery stakeholders, we assess the role of the sustainable seafood market throughout the fishery’s transformation from “unsustainable’ to an MSC-certified fishery. We found that the MSC played three key roles in transforming the fishery from an undesirable state towards long-term sustainability by creating a stimulus for change, serving as guide prior to and throughout the fishery’s transition, and helping to stabilize the fishery in its new trajectory. This study provides the first empirical evidence for the conservation strategy employed by seafood certification programs for improving fisheries that require transformative change in order to meet sustainability goals.
... Despite their remarkable growth-from a handful in 2007 to 107 in 2015 -FIPs have received limited attention in the governance literature. Studies about FIPs are largely limited to individual case studies [8][9][10][11][12] and a few consultancy reports [6,13,14]. Three notable exceptions include Sampson et al. [15], Cannon et al. [7], Thomas Travaille et al. [16] but these authors focus primarily on measurable outcomes, often in the water. ...
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Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) are a form of private governance using seafood supply chains to reduce environmental impacts of fishing in some of the most challenged fisheries. Some FIPs are industry-led, others are championed by NGOs. They range across many different fishery types, in both high- and low-income settings. Their diversity is notable, and their proliferation remarkable. This rapid growth suggests FIPs are becoming a key feature of the fisheries governance landscape globally. Based on a global sample of 107 FIPs, we systematically examined their reported actions, the actors involved, and their achievements in terms of policy and practice outputs. The most common actions were dialogues with policy stakeholders, data collection, and educational efforts directed at fishers. Common policy outputs included development of management plans and/or a management body, and rules for limiting entry and increasing compliance. Practice related outputs were dominated by gear changes, and observer and traceability programs. Only crab and lobster FIPs engaged in sustained policy conversations as one of the most common actions. Shrimp and tuna fisheries report more engagement in testing and implementing changes to fishery practices. While supply chain actors are involved in all FIPs, retailers and 1st tier suppliers are relatively absent from FIP activities, and are primarily involved in rallying financial support or some policy engagement. Based on our analysis we discuss the opportunities and challenges FIPs will likely need to engage with to contribute to a global transition to more socially and environmentally sustainable fisheries. We outline key areas where further work is needed to understand how FIPs can improve their contribution to global fisheries governance in the future.
... With the emergence of head-start programs has come concern that the bar for certification is being lowered to accommodate new participants (Sampson et al., 2015). One reason for this concern is that fisheries that are part of these programs can gain the same market access as those with certifications (Deighan & Jenkins 2015). Bush et al. (2013) describe the issue as a "devil's triangle" because it is seemingly impossible to simultaneously encourage new participants, while also ensuring existing participants continue to work towards higher levels of sustainability, all the while maintaining adequate credibility. ...
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Seafood certifications are a prominent tool being used to encourage sustainability in marine fisheries worldwide. However, questions about their efficacy remain the subject of ongoing debate. A main criticism is that they are not well suited for small‐scale fisheries or those in developing nations. This represents a dilemma because a significant share of global fishing activity occurs in these sectors. To overcome this shortcoming and others, a range of “fixes” have been implemented, including reduced payment structures, development of fisheries improvement projects, and head‐start programs that prepare fisheries for certification. These adaptations have not fully solved incompatibilities, instead creating new challenges that have necessitated additional fixes. We argue that this dynamic is emblematic of a common tendency in natural resource management where particular tools and strategies are emphasized over the conservation outcomes they seek to achieve. This can lead to the creation of “hammers” in management and conservation. We use seafood certifications as an illustrative case to highlight the importance of diverse approaches to sustainability that do not require certification. Focusing on alternative models that address sustainability problems at the local level and increase fishers’ adaptive capacity, social capital, and agency through “relational” supply chains may be a useful starting point.
... In terms of standardization, the Alliance participates as an expert to various committees that work on seafood certification. The guidelines for Fishery Improvement Projects discussed above create a standard for FIPs (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). The objective is that companies use these guidelines to seek sustainable seafood products. ...
Article
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Meta-organizations (MO, i.e. organizations of organizations) are increasingly set up and used to tackle contemporary environmental or social problems. The primary focus of this novel concept has been traditional industries and cases of MO made of one single type of members, e.g. firms, often in the same industry. Little research has examined cross-sectoral or multi-stakeholder MO and their roles in the governance of economic activities, especially in the oceans, which face severe and complex grand challenges. Here we investigate the forms and conditions under which MO can effectively facilitate the joint governance of ocean problems. Our paper develops a conceptualization of ‘governing MO’ as a category of MO dedicated to sustainability and organizations' practices self-governance. We then conduct a comparative study of ocean governance devices through the MO lens and highlight broad variations in the use of MO characteristics. Lastly, we define ideal-typical dimensions and boundary conditions for a MO model of ocean governance.
... In terms of standardization, the Alliance participates as an expert to various committees that work on seafood certification. The guidelines for Fishery Improvement Projects discussed above create a standard for FIPs (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). The objective is that companies use these guidelines to seek sustainable seafood products. ...
... Externally, MSC proponents developed Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs). FIPs were developed as independent initiatives in the early 2010s to assist fisheries elevate their performance and practices to a standard more likely to meet MSC requirements [8,20,25,30,31,64]. FIPs exploded onto the international scene, with the number of engagements rising to 170 by 2021 [17]. ...
Article
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) features small-scale and developing country fisheries prominently in promoting its sustainability program, yet the problem of low levels of certification in developing country fisheries is a long-standing and important issue in marine policy. The objective of this paper is to better understand small-scale, developing country fishery experiences with the oldest fisheries certification program globally. It does so primarily through a comparative case study of fisheries that were among the first in their wider regions to engage the program. The paper assesses fisheries in Kerala, India, and The Gambia, West Africa, detailing the evolution of engagement with MSC sustainability certification. Analytically, the paper assesses experiences, successes and frustrations in these cases across ecological, economic, social, and institutional dimensions—categories that have gained widespread appeal in sustainability studies. The paper finds that what makes a fishery certifiable or uncertifiable is not just levels of performance against the sustainability certification standard but also a broader range of relations and interactions that influence paths of development and change in fisheries. We, therefore, call for more explicitly integrated and critical explanatory social science and interdisciplinary evaluations of fisheries certifiability, broadly understood as impacted by diverse ecological, social, economic and political factors and relationships. Technical certifiability, social-ecological certifiability, and uncertifiability will be introduced to broaden our understanding.
... Several studies have tried to improve our understanding about FIPs including; case studies in specific fisheries (e.g. Doddema, 2012;Deighan and Jenkins, 2015;Duggan and Kochen, 2016;Parkes et al., 2016;Tolentino-Zondervan et al., 2016a, b;Bush et al., 2017), global reviews and studies about FIP performance (e.g. Sampson et al., 2015;Cannon et al., 2018;Travaille et al., 2019) or its governance process (Crona et al., 2019;Packer et al., 2020;Barr et al., 2019). ...
Article
Fishery Improvement Projects (FIPs) have been increasing in numbers worldwide over the last decade to improve fishery practices towards sustainability. This paper tries to analyse the current status and performance of fisheries currently involved in FIPs and listed in the website Fishery Progress (www.fisheryprogress.org). Out of the 126 analysed FIPs, 59 FIPs did not show any changes in status, in addition to 6 FIPs with no status information. These fisheries double the total landings of the fisheries that showed improvements. The results reveal that young FIPs (those 2 years old or less) account for 42 out of the 59 that did not show any changes in status. Weak relationship between the improvements in scores and actions completed or cumulative duration (spent time) of the project was observed. FAO areas with highest scores were in the northern hemisphere while the lowest were in the south. The finding of fisheries scoring poorly in the global south may reflect data gaps rather than poor performance, or a mixture of the two that demands care of interpretation.
... In response to the limitations of MSC certification, initiatives that construct more articulated forms of legitimacy have emerged in fishing territories. First, processes of coproduction seek to replace the vision that conceives of fishers as simple receivers of certifications imposed by external economic actors with a conception of them as agents who take on an active role in the design and instrumentation of certifications in their territories (Vellema and Van Wijk 2015;Kusumawati and Bush 2015;Deighan and Jenkins 2015;Wentink et al. 2017;Bush and Oosterveer 2019). Secondly, diverse certification initiatives are being promoted by actors in the Global South (southern certifications) in response, precisely, to the scant legitimacy of conventional schemes. ...
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The present article analyzes the process of the construction of legitimacy of the Chakay Collective Brand (Marca Colectiva Chakay) that developed in the spiny lobster fisheries in the Sian Ka’an and Banco Chinchorro Biosphere Reserves, in Quintana Roo, Mexico. The information obtained from 64 interviews with members of the six cooperatives that operate in the study area revealed how the Mexican civil association that promoted this certification initiative placed its own economic interests above conservationist arguments, and how its actions generated problems by (i) excluding diverse local fishers from the design and instrumentation of the certification, and (ii) producing unequal economic benefits for the organizations and localities where this activity is practiced. The study demonstrates that fishing certifications proposed from the Global South (Southern Certifications) can reproduce problems of legitimacy similar to those that conventional certifications (pragmatic legitimacy) confront, with scant benefits for small-scale, artisanal fisheries in developing countries. We conclude that constructing moral (i.e., a balance between strong and weak networks) and cognitive (i.e., sociocultural proximity) legitimacy is crucial for instrumenting certifications that will be more effective in attending to the socioeconomic and environmental challenges of fishing in specific territorial contexts.
... Conversely, fisheries still unable to meet the MSC certification threshold are supported by firms and NGOs through Fisheries Improvement Projects, which facilitate market access. More than 500 fisheries were involved in such improvement projects in 2014, de facto branded with an "MSC-minus" label that relies on the use of NGO guidelines (Deighan & Jenkins, 2015). ...
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Voluntary standards certifying environmental qualities of labeled products have proliferated across sectors and countries. Effectuating these standards requires the collaboration among and between creators (typically firms and non-governmental organizations) and adopters (firms across a particular supply chain). However, the need to collaborate does not rule out the presence of controversy. Drawing on the case of the Marine Stewardship Council, a leading seafood standard to conserve the world’s threatened marine fauna, we analyze how this controversy, from economic and sociologic vantage points, impacts a sustainability transition. In essence, interest divergence drives controversy over standard design, which spurs controversy over standard effectiveness and prompts the proliferation of competing standards. Controversy is magnified by the opacity or non-transparency of the fields which such standards seek to govern. We conclude that, while interest divergence and field opacity entail inherent controversy over voluntary environmental standards, the impact of this controversy on sustainability transitions is typically predominantly positive.
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The Sustainable Seafood Movement (movement) arose in reaction to government fisheries managers' inertia and failure to prevent overfishing, overcapacity and impacts on the ecosystem. This movement has successfully developed non-state market-driven governance tools to catalyse improvements in fisheries governance. Non-state market-driven governance is often discussed in the context of certification programs such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), but this is just one facet of a diversified, multi-pronged governance regime that has been created to improve the sustainability of fisheries; others include fisheries improvement projects, sustainable seafood sourcing policies, and traceability schemes. Movement actors use these non-state market-driven governance tools to reform fisheries governance through the supply chain. While recognition exists in the literature of the continued importance of fisheries governance reform, the complementary nature and the need for improved coordination between public governance and non-state market-driven governance efforts is insufficiently explored. Few actors in either sector understand fully the work of the other. Using the United Kingdom and the United States as case studies, this paper contrasts public governance mechanisms with non-state market-driven governance mechanisms to highlight where their efforts are complements, substitutes, rivals, or monopolies. Understanding the roles and structures of these governance regimes is necessary to identify impediments to coordination as well as possible solutions.
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Demand for sustainably certified wild-caught fish and crustaceans is increasingly shaping global seafood markets. Retailers such as Walmart in the United States, Sainsbury's in the United Kingdom, and Carrefour in France, and processors such as Canadianbased High Liner Foods, have promised to source all fresh, frozen, farmed, and wild seafood from sustainable sources by 2015 ( 1 , 2 ). Credible arbiters of certifications, such as the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), require detailed environmental and traceability standards. Although these standards have been met in many commercial fisheries throughout the developed world ( 3 ), developing country fisheries (DCFs) represent only 7% of ~220 total MSC-certified fisheries ( 4 , 5 ). With the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization reporting that developing countries account for ~50% of seafood entering international trade, this presents a fundamental challenge for marketers of sustainable seafood (see the photo).
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Effective corporate social responsibility (CSR) is becoming mainstream strategic business planning for the oil palm industry. At its core, CSR aims to align business values with the needs and expectations of a broader range of stakeholders, beyond just investors and shareholders. In oil palm, this entails taking responsibility for social and environmental impacts, often beyond what is required by law, to build social and environmental capital in pursuit of a local "license to operate." Third-party certification standards are a popular tool for guiding and monitoring the impact of CSR programs and have taken root in oil palm through the multi-stakeholder Roundtable on Sustainable Palm Oil (RSPO). Eight years running, the RSPO has made substantial inroads to improve the environmental and social performance of Southeast Asia's largest and fastest growing plantation industry. Yet serious challenges remain for RSPO to mainstream environmentally sustainable and socially responsible practices throughout the supply chain. Based on experiences working with multi-stakeholder groups to implement RSPO, including industry, government, local communities, and NGOs, we highlight areas where change is required not only among growers but also the broader RSPO membership to build on recent achievements and accelerate progress. Major challenges include (1) improving corporate governance of plantation companies to translate boardroom CSR decisions into conservation actions on the ground; (2) pushing RSPO member processors, traders, manufacturers, and retailers, who profit from palm oil, to share the cost burden of implementing sustainability, (3) strengthening NGO partnerships with companies to provide the social and environmental expertise companies require but still lack, and (4) creating a more supportive regulatory structure in producer countries to implement sustainability. Challenges to RSPO progress can be overcome, but will require coordinated action to ensure that the scale and pace of change is sufficient to deliver long-term benefits for the environment before it is too late.
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The argument persists that the continued overexploitation by many fisheries around the world is evidence that current approaches to fisheries management are failing, and that more precautionary management approaches are needed. We review the available estimates of the status of fish stocks from three sources: the FAO's “State of Marine Resources”, a database on scientific stock assessments, and recent estimates from statistical models designed to determine the status of unassessed fish stocks. The two key results are (i) that stocks that are scientifically assessed are in better shape and indeed are not typically declining but rebuilding, and (ii) that large stocks appear to be in better shape than small stocks. These results support the view that stocks that are managed are improving, while stocks that are not managed are not. Large stocks receive far more management attention than small stocks in jurisdictions that have active fisheries management systems, and most unassessed stocks are simply not managed. We assert that fisheries management as currently practised can (and often does) lead to sustainable fisheries, and what is needed is to actively manage the unassessed fisheries of the world. More precautionary management is not necessarily needed to ensure the sustainability of managed fisheries.
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Market-based instruments of fishery governance have been promoted in the past two decades on the basis of two widespread expectations: that complying with sustainability standards will lead to environmental benefits; and that certifications will not discriminate against specific social groups, countries or regions.This paper assesses whether these assumptions hold through the analysis of how the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label for capture fisheries has managed ‘supply’,‘demand’ and ‘civic’ concerns in the market for sustainability certifications. The MSC has created and now dominates the market for ‘sustainable fish’, but success has been accompanied by serious challenges. The MSC has so far failed to convincingly show that its certification system has positive environmental impacts, and it has marginalized Southern fisheries, especially in low-income countries. As an institutional solution to the global fishery crisis, the MSC seems to be better tuned to the creation of a market for ‘sustainable fish’ rather than ‘sustainable fisheries’.
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This article presents the results of a global review of organizations that provide sustainable fisheries information—including ecolabels, recommendation lists, and supermarkets—to consumers and supply chain intermediaries. It examined 17 organizations and key supermarkets that communicate on the sustainability of world fisheries and aquaculture products. Certification schemes assess a relatively small number of specific fisheries and indicate sustainability through labels. Recommendation lists cover more species and areas but in less detail. Most schemes showed improving conformance with FAO guidelines for fisheries and aquaculture certification. However, significant variation in fisheries’ assessment exists, calling into question the accuracy and precision of information and advice provided. Inconsistent approaches and contradictory advice among certification schemes and recommendation lists potentially increase consumer confusion and reduce their credibility. The review identifies seven critical attributes that schemes must address—scope, accuracy, independence, precision, transparency, standardization, and cost-effectiveness—and recommends that certification schemes and recommendation lists enhance their consistency and credibility through compliance with these attributes and FAO guidelines. Fish sustainability information schemes play an important role in securing a sustainable future for the oceans. Uptake of this review's recommendations should reduce consumer confusion and increase confidence in the benefits of sustainable purchasing.
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Concerns over fishing impacts on marine populations and ecosystems have intensified the need to improve ocean management. One increasingly popular market-based instrument for ecological stewardship is the use of certification and eco-labeling programs to highlight sustainable fisheries with low environmental impacts. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is the most prominent of these programs. Despite widespread discussions about the rigor of the MSC standards, no comprehensive analysis of the performance of MSC-certified fish stocks has yet been conducted. We compared status and abundance trends of 45 certified stocks with those of 179 uncertified stocks, finding that 74% of certified fisheries were above biomass levels that would produce maximum sustainable yield, compared with only 44% of uncertified fisheries. On average, the biomass of certified stocks increased by 46% over the past 10 years, whereas uncertified fisheries increased by just 9%. As part of the MSC process, fisheries initially go through a confidential pre-assessment process. When certified fisheries are compared with those that decline to pursue full certification after pre-assessment, certified stocks had much lower mean exploitation rates (67% of the rate producing maximum sustainable yield vs. 92% for those declining to pursue certification), allowing for more sustainable harvesting and in many cases biomass rebuilding. From a consumer's point of view this means that MSC-certified seafood is 3–5 times less likely to be subject to harmful fishing than uncertified seafood. Thus, MSC-certification accurately identifies healthy fish stocks and conveys reliable information on stock status to seafood consumers. Copyright: ß 2012 Gutiérrez et al. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
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Developing country governments and industries have been reluctant to support ecolabels, fearing their potentially protectionist effects. This reluctance has been countered by international organizations (such as FAO) and ecolabel initiatives with assurances of transparency, non-discrimination, and technical assistance. The analysis of the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) label shows that developing country fisheries, and small-scale ones in particular, have been marginalized. Furthermore, the MSC certification of the hake industry in South Africa illustrates that ecolabeling is sought in the context of competitive pressures and specific political economies, not simply on the basis of value-free science and systemic management. This article concludes that developing country producers need dedicated systems of standards and verification procedures, not only special flexibilities.
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The total world catch from marine and freshwater wild stocks has peaked and may be slightly declining. There appear to be few significant resources to be developed, and the majority of the world’s fish stocks are intensively exploited. Many marine ecosystems have been profoundly changed by fishing and other human activities. Although most of the world’s major fisheries continue to produce substantial sustainable yield, a number have been severely overfished, and many more stocks appear to be heading toward depletion. The world’s fisheries continue to be heavily subsidized, which encourages overfishing and provides society with a small fraction of the potential economic benefits. In most of the world’s fisheries there is a “race for fish” in which boats compete to catch the fish before a quota is achieved or the fish are caught by someone else. The race for fish leads to economic inefficiency, poor quality product, and pressure to extract every fish for short-term gain. A number of countries have instituted alternative management practices that eliminate the race for fish and encourage economic efficiency, use lower exploitation rates that deliberately do not attempt to maximize biological yield, and encourage reduced fishing costs and increased value of products. In fisheries where this transition has taken place, we see the potential for future sustainability, but in those fisheries where the race for fish continues, we anticipate further declines in abundance, further loss of jobs and fishing communities, and potential structural change to marine ecosystems.
Book
Congratulations to H. Russell Bernard, who was recently elected as a member of the National Academy of Sciences"This book does what few others even attempt—to survey a wide range of systematic analytic approaches. I commend the authors for both their inclusiveness and their depth of treatment of various tasks and approaches." —Judith Preissle, University of Georgia "I appreciate the unpretentious tone of the book. The authors provide very clear instructions and examples of many different ways to collect and analyze qualitative data and make it clear that there is no one correct way to do it." —Cheryl Winsten-Bartlett, North Central University "The analytical methodologies are laid out very well, and I will definitely utilize the book with students regarding detailed information and steps to conduct systematic and rigorous data analysis." —Dorothy Aguilera, Lewis & Clark College This book introduces readers to systematic methods for analyzing qualitative data. Unlike other texts, it covers the extensive range of available methods so that readers become aware of the array of techniques beyond their individual disciplines. Part I is an overview of the basics. Part II comprises 11 chapters, each treating a different method for analyzing text. Real examples from the literature across the health and social sciences provide invaluable applied understanding.
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This article examines the implementation of voluntary forest certification in Russia and the role it has played so far as a mechanism of multi-level governance with the potential to create sustainable forestry. The evidence was gathered from a data-set of over a hundred in-depth interviews with individuals from business, communities, state and non-governmental organizations in several major forestry regions in the European and Far-Eastern parts of Russia. The respondents' views regarding the nature and effects of certification were wide ranging. Certification is associated with new and powerful tools that are an alternative to coercive state governance, which may become instrumental in ensuring law enforcement and sustainability. At the same time, the combination of commercial drivers behind certification and the lack of social controls may lead to the institutionalization of existing, not necessarily desirable, forestry practices. Our paper shows that the inconsistent outcomes of certification are highly related to path-dependent social institutions and local practices. The expectations for internationally-devised schemes aimed at establishing sustainable forest management can be easily thwarted by the behavior of individuals involved at the local level. Greater focus on low-level actors is required for effective realization of multi-level governance in Russian forestry.
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This study presents a legal review of international treaties to derive sound definitions of overfishing. It examines seafood stocks that were certified by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) or Friend of the Sea (FOS). Stock size and fishing pressure were compared with the internationally agreed reference points which both organizations have accepted. No suitable status information was found for 11% (MSC) to 53% (FOS) of the certified stocks. For the stocks with available status information, 19% (FOS) to 31% (MSC) had overfished stock sizes and were subject to ongoing overfishing. An analysis of legal implications of certification of overfished stocks suggests that a certifying body cannot be held liable for a violation of internationally agreed standards unless the domestic law of its home country so regulates. States may ban the import of fish products from overfished stocks, but only in very specific cases. Possible causes for the certification of overfished stocks are discussed and recommendations are given on how the certifiers could improve their performance. The study concludes that it is still reasonable to buy certified seafood, because the percentage of moderately exploited, healthy stocks is 3–4 times higher in certified than in non-certified seafood.
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In a recent paper, Froese and Proelss [1] contend that 31% of stocks targeted by Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certified fisheries are overfished and subject to ongoing overfishing and a further 8% are either overfished or subject to overfishing. Their results are derived using a definition of ‘overfished’ that is not consistent with internationally accepted definitions and interpretations. In addition, the authors used unrealistic estimates of biomass that produce Maximum Sustainable Yields (BMSY) obtained through methods that are inconsistent with the approach used by the management agencies and scientific advisory bodies responsible for the stocks in question.Analyses such as that published by Froese and Proelss are an important part of the external, independent scrutiny of the programme that MSC welcomes. However there are a number of serious flaws in their analysis, data and resulting conclusions that this response seeks to correct. Using data for 45 stocks exploited by MSC certified fisheries (>60% of total fisheries in the programme and >80% of total certified catch), internationally accepted methods for determining MSY reference points, and internationally accepted definitions of the terms ‘overfished’ and ‘overfishing’, no stocks exploited by MSC certified fisheries can be defined as overfished (below their limit reference points).
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The development of sustainability indicator systems (SIS) has been a response to practically apply and interpret ecosystem-based and precautionary approaches to fisheries management. Fisheries- based indicator systems have been characterised by recognition of their utility, but hampered by a lack of data, clear roles and responsibilities and an uneven distribution of implementation across governance jurisdictions. This paper explores a policy-based holistic model of an indicator system consisting of inputs, core structures and outputs and uses this as the basis of an assessment framework. The framework is applied to two recent reporting systems: the Australian government's Commonwealth Sustainable Fisheries Assessments and the Marine Stewardship Council initiative.
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We describe the certification of the red rock lobster fishery of Mexico and the resulting empowerment of the fishing cooperatives. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program recognizes sustainable fishing; the Mexican lobster is the first community-based fishery to be certified. Lobster is harvested by fishermen cooperatives that have limited access rights, organizational incentives, self-management ability, and investment in fixed and social capital. The lobster fishery represents effective co-management by government and cooperatives and MSC certification that leads to non-economic benefits, especially empowerment and community strengthening. MSC certification has had a positive impact on fishermen's cooperatives and gained international recognition for the Mexican fishery policy, with the possibility of increased renewal of fishermen's access rights. We argue that co-management and community-based decision-making addresses the issue of fish sustainability. The benefits of MSC certification could not be repeated in other fisheries in Mexico, where fishermen do not share strong management and community identity.
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The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) has continued to strengthen its position in the market based on its credibility as a transparent, accountable and science-based third party certification scheme. However, the consolidation of MSC's credibility risks being undermined by the poor representation of developing world fisheries and concerns that the scheme provides little incentive for continual improvement for fisheries once certified. This paper argues that the challenge of maintaining credibility while increasing access and fisheries improvement constitutes a 'devils triangle'. In the absence of a clear policy from MSC for balancing this triangle fisheries are taking their own actions to differentiate themselves both above (MSC-plus) and below (MSC-minus) the certification threshold. To avoid further undermining of the MSC the organisation should internalise such externally-led differentiation by moving towards an internally controlled tiered certification system based on its already existing metric-based principle indicator system. Doing so would communicate on equity and continual improvement both before and after certification, and create on-going incentives for fishers to enter into the MSC programme.
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In August 2008, the Northern shrimp, a prey of the iconic cod, became the first species managed by the Canadian government to meet the Marine Stewardship Council's (MSC) standard for ‘sustainable and well-managed’ fisheries. Using the Northern shrimp fishery as a case study, this paper argues that rather than being simply a tool for sustainability or even earning market access, MSC certification allows fishery ‘clients’– those organizations that ultimately hold the MSC certificate – to control resource access and production relations. The processing association that acted as the initial client in this fishery gained new members by sharing access to certification in 2009 and expelled a community-based fishing co-operative from the client group in 2010. Certification dynamics in this case reflected, and were used to reinforce, a highly competitive political economy of production. These dynamics may have implications for future resource access, since shrimp stocks appear to be declining in key areas after three decades of growth.
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As worldwide population continues to grow, so does demand for seafood by consumers. With this trend, interest in sustainably certified seafood is also increasing. The Maine lobster fishery is currently considering certification based on the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) standard for sustainable and well-managed fisheries. Although certification is argued to provide a market-based incentive to improve sustainable fishing practices, it is a costly and time-consuming process, and often imposes additional requirements on fisheries in order to meet certification standards. To evaluate whether the costs of Maine lobster fishery certification are worth the presumed benefits, lobster industry members were interviewed to learn their opinions of MSC certification, seafood consumers were surveyed to understand their attitudes and purchasing preferences related to lobster, and lessons learned from other MSC-certified fisheries were compiled. MSC certification of the Maine lobster fishery could potentially provide benefits to the industry by differentiating Maine lobster and maintaining access to markets that are looking to exclusively source certified fish products. However, certification is unlikely to provide price premiums for the fishermen, and does not necessarily represent to consumers the most desirable aspects of Maine lobster. Certification programs may need to adapt to consumer preferences and market conditions if they are to continue to provide incentives for the sustainable management of fisheries.
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This paper introduces the concept of 'spaces of interaction' to determine how existing market-based governance tools improve participation and deliberation between actors along fish value chains. Exploring these linkages through the sociology of environmental flows and interactive governance theory the paper discusses: (1) how market-based governance tools facilitate interaction within national and international value chains; (2) which links they target; and (3) what key actors they involve. Three market-based governance tools are compared - "Das Fisch-o-Meter", the Scottish Sustainable Haddock Project and the Marine Stewardship Council - to illustrate the structure and function of different market-based spaces of interaction. The paper concludes that by understanding the kinds of interactions that are facilitated by market-based governance arrangements we can determine their potential for fostering changes in consumption and production practices which ultimately lead to sustainable fisheries. Copyright (c) 2009 by the Royal Dutch Geographical Society KNAG.
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Ecolabelling is an increasingly important tool used in the promotion of sustainable forestry and fishery products around the world. Whether the consumer is actually paying a price premium for ecolabelled products is of fundamental importance as it indicates a return on the investment of sustainable practices, providing an incentive for producers to undertake such practices. This article seeks to address the question of whether or not an actual premium is being paid by consumers for ecolabelled seafood by conducting a hedonic analysis of Marine Stewardship Council (MSC)‐certified frozen processed Alaska pollock products in the London metropolitan area in the UK market using scanner data. Regression results show a statistically significant premium of 14.2%. This implies the presence of market differentiation for sustainable seafood and the potential of the MSC’s fisheries certification programme to generate market incentives for sustainable fisheries practices.
Article
Certification of where, when and how fish are caught is emerging as an important fisheries management tool. The history of eco-labelling in the fisheries sector is relatively short and actual experiences of eco-labelling are limited, although an emerging trend is shaping in European and US markets. Eco-labelling in fisheries gained increased impetus with the development of the non-government Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) in 1996. This paper reviews the emerging importance of certification and eco-labelling in the fisheries sector, the development and operation of the MSC, identifying particularly the role of ‘third party certification’ as promoted by the MSC, and notes the opportunities and challenges for the MSC and eco-labelling in general.
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Fishery assessment process
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