Article

Searching for (un) sustainabilty in pangasius aquaculture: A political economy of quality in European retail

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Abstract

Drawing on a political economy of food quality, this paper investigates the main sources of uncertainty over the environmental sustainability of Vietnamese pangasius catfish in European markets and how retailers subsequently respond to these uncertainties. Based on media survey and interviews with supermarket retailers across Europe between 2008 and 2010, the analysis focuses on the claims and counterclaims over the sustainability of pangasius aquaculture, how retailers have dealt with the uncertainty these claims have engendered about the fish, and what effect this uncertainty has had on the potential of marketing ‘sustainable pangasius’ in European supermarkets. The paper concludes that successful claims around new food qualities like sustainability by retailers are dependent on the ability of regulatory networks to overcome any perceived illegitimacy of imported products in the face of continuing uncertainty and the wider politics of market protectionism

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... The expansion of Vietnamese farmed pangasius has been driven by demand in more than 100 countries worldwide (Trifkovi c 2014). However, as the market share of farmed Vietnamese pangasius began to increase in the US and Europe in the mid-2000s, a wide range of claims have been made in the mass media that pangasius is both unsafe and unsustainable (Bush & Duijf 2011;Little et al. 2012). The scope of these public statements is in general terms broad and unfocused, with reference made to the presence of toxins derived from 'polluted' water or from (veterinary) treatment of the fish or fillet. ...
... For example, the salmon industry has been able to counter many of the accusations made because production is based in North America and Northern Europe where there is strong industry and government support (Burridge et al. 2010). In contrast, pangasius has been less successful in countering negative media attention, in part because of a mistrust of the Vietnamese industry and regulation by European and North American importing markets (Bush & Duijf 2011). ...
... The common suggestion that pangasius is 'full of poison' is intertwined with a range of circumstantial evidence stating that the Mekong River is 'heavily polluted' and that pangasius is 'thus' loaded with toxic compounds, such as DDT, arsenic, pesticides and an assortment of pharmaceuticals. The statements have been repeatedly posted on websites and other media sources in several countries and have even been debated in the European Parliament with no critical reflection or assessment as to their accuracy (Bush & Duijf 2011). None of these media sources make any reference to actual levels of these contaminants, nor do they make any reference to any sources of data. ...
Article
Mass media reports suggest that pangasius (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus) is 'full of poison' because it is able to survive in the 'heavily polluted Mekong River' and contains pesticides and veterinary treatment chemicals. However, most of these claims are not substantiated with scientific evidence. To assess the safety of pangasius consumption, a full toxicological risk assessment was performed. The results obtained were compared to toxicity claims made in a selection of media reports. Information on contaminant levels encountered in pangasius was collected from the EU Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed (RASFF) database. The toxicological risk assessments do not support any of the toxicological risks suggested in the media. Next, the maximum pangasius consumption that would be considered safe was estimated on the basis of the highest levels of the toxic contaminants reported in Vietnamese pangasius by RASFF and the safety thresholds for the contaminants. The maximum amount of the recalled fillet that could have been consumed without any adverse effects amounted to between 3.4 and 166.7 kg day-1 (lifelong for a 70 kg adult) in the case of pesticide contamination and between 0.613 and 303 kg fillet day-1 in the case of preservatives and antibiotics. It is concluded that consumption of pangasius available on the European market does not pose any concern for the health of the consumer. The analysis presented in this study illustrates that publicly available independent information could help consumers to develop their own well-informed opinion about food safety issues.
... Although it is the largest export market, EU imports of frozen pangasius fillets decreased from 211 thousand tonnes in volume, at an import value of €370 million in 2010 (EUMOFA, 2014) to 130 thousand tonnes in volume, at an import value of €275 million in 2014 (CBI, 2015). This decline could be a consequence of recent claims about the negative environmental impacts of pangasius production and food safety issues (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Little et al., 2012;Rico and Van den Brink, 2014). Furthermore, retailers and customers increasingly demand labelled pangasius, such as pangasius with Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, to ensure that pangasius products are sourced from environmentally sustainable and socially equitable production systems (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Little et al., 2012). ...
... This decline could be a consequence of recent claims about the negative environmental impacts of pangasius production and food safety issues (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Little et al., 2012;Rico and Van den Brink, 2014). Furthermore, retailers and customers increasingly demand labelled pangasius, such as pangasius with Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) certification, to ensure that pangasius products are sourced from environmentally sustainable and socially equitable production systems (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Little et al., 2012). ...
Article
Price transmission in international supply chains is important to ensure that price premiums paid by consumers for environmental sustainability labels are transmitted upstream to farmers. This facilitates investment in sustainable aquaculture systems. This study analyzes the price transmission from the international retail stage to the Vietnamese farm, focusing on frozen pangasius fillets. We used monthly nominal prices at farm and export stages in Vietnam, and at wholesale and retail stages in Poland for the period from August 2010 to December 2014. Price signals at the Polish retail stage were found to transmit back to the wholesale, export, and farm stages. Moreover, price transmission from wholesale to export and from export to farm is characterized by both short- and long-run symmetries. In the short run, retailers tend to transmit only wholesale price increases to their customers and wholesalers transmit only retail price increases to exporters. A long-run relationship between retailers and wholesalers is absent, thereby reducing the ability of chain actors to respond to all market signals, including downward changes.
... Mapping this distribution of benefit requires being attuned to both inter-firm relations within the chain and to extra-firm, place-based institutions and livelihood strategies. The emerging body of literature on global aquaculture value chains has shown the complexity of governing North-South transnational relations and the potentials for improving benefits derived from participation in the chain (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Dey et al., 2015;Islam, 2008;Jespersen et al., 2014;Ponte et al., 2014;Tran et al., 2013). Yet, value chain studies have paid less attention to domestic aquacultural chains -including those with strong urban orientations -that still comprise majority of the world's aquaculture production (Belton and Bush, 2014). ...
... Effective upgrading relies on adequate understanding of the governance and institutional factors in value chains. In aquaculture and fisheries, governance of global value chains of export fish and seafood (shrimp, prawn and pangasius) produced in the global South for consumption in the global North has received the most scholarly focus (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Islam, 2008;Ponte et al., 2014;Tran et al., 2013). However, following Belton and Bush's (2014) Benefits derived from participating in the urban value chains include formal access to markets and ownership of productive assets (Bene et al., 2016), participation or employment in ancillary services in backward and forward linkages Little and Bunting, 2005), and indirect benefits for food access and security via lower fish prices (Bunting and Little, 2015;Toufique and Belton, 2014). ...
Article
Urbanization has become a significant driver of aquaculture in the rapidly expanding cities of the global South. Using a case study of Laguna Lake and Metro Manila in the Philippines, this paper disaggregates the urban as a driver of aquaculture, and examines the social relations that structure urban-oriented aquaculture. It integrates access analysis with the value chain heuristic to identify how urbanization shapes domestic aquaculture value chains, and to map access mechanisms for firms and actors engaged in these chains. Macro-level urban processes drive aquaculture in at least four ways: as a source of demand for fish, as a source of input and capital flows, as a set of activities that transforms sites of aquaculture production, and as a sociocultural discourse. Micro-level mapping of access in the urban value chains shows a multitude of actors who derive benefits that range from direct participation in fish production and exchange to the indirect consumption benefits associated with lower-priced fish. Benefit and access mechanisms are unevenly distributed across the chain, and are configured and reinforced by social relations tied to place-based institutional contexts. Access analysis of urban value chains within the framework of urban drivers presents a means to evaluate the sustainability, poverty alleviation and development goals of aquaculture amid increasing urbanization.
... The negative media attention in the EU (Bush and Duijf 2011) and the NGO pressure for improved accountability (WWF 2010b) have led to a burgeoning number of different standards in the sector. ...
... Bush et al. (2009) focused on examining the potential of various standards to assure sustainable production and investigated whether standards can improve local environmental conditions. This paper supplements the earlier research by drawing attention to the interplay between vertical coordination initiatives and safety and quality aspects of pangasius production, which are considered equally relevant (Bush and Duijf 2011;Little et al. 2012). This paper illustrates that processing companies rely on vertical integration, rather than standards or contracts, to address the pervasive market failures. ...
Article
This paper explores the interaction between food standards and vertical coordination in the Vietnamese pangasius sector. For farmers and processors alike, the adoption of standards is motivated by a desire to improve market access by ensuring high quality supply. Instead of encouraging the application of standards and contract farming, processing companies prefer to vertically integrate primary production largely due to concerns over the stable supply of pangasius with satisfactory quality and safety attributes. These tendencies increase the market dominance of industrial farming and worsen the position of small household farms.
... The rapid development of the striped catfish farming sector in the Mekong Delta, over the last decade, attracted much global attention and has not been without controversy either, particularly in respect of sustainability and market related issues (see for e.g. Bush and Duijf, 2011;De Silva and Phuong, 2011;Little et al., 2012;. Its importance has triggered many studies on a range of aspects pertaining to the sector in the recent years. ...
... As such the transportation sector is a standalone sub-sector that is crucial to the production/ market chain. However, there had not been any study on this sub-sector, the functioning and economics of which will have a significant impact on the overall viability of striped catfish farming in the Mekong Delta, a provider of food fish to many countries across the globe (Bush and Duijf, 2011;De Silva and Phuong, 2011;Little et al., 2012). Accordingly, this study deals with aspects on the transportation of fry to fingerling of striped catfish in the Mekong Delta, including a preliminary cost-benefit analysis of the sub-sector. ...
... In contrast, iridescent shark, which are also almost exclusively farmed, have only low n-3 PUFA level (Table 2). Industrial feed for iridescent shark (rice hulls, rice, soy flour, and bananas575859 ) has a relatively low concentration of n-3 PUFA and can contain around 2- 3% fish oil [57]. This has only a low impact on n-3 PUFA content as reflected by recent analyses. ...
... In contrast, iridescent shark, which are also almost exclusively farmed, have only low n-3 PUFA level (Table 2). Industrial feed for iridescent shark (rice hulls, rice, soy flour, and bananas575859 ) has a relatively low concentration of n-3 PUFA and can contain around 2- 3% fish oil [57]. This has only a low impact on n-3 PUFA content as reflected by recent analyses. ...
... 2. Trade and sustainability: the EU, the MEP and the WWF Struan Stevenson had been a long-time critic of pangasius, having raised concerns through the Scottish media and questions in the European Parliament since 2009 [10]. His comments at the end of 2010, made during a keynote speech at a conference in the European Parliament regarding aquaculture's contribution to food security in Europe, reproduced a set of narratives about pangasius, which had featured repeatedly in the European media over the preceding two years [11]. These claims were arranged around the themes of food safety, environmental performance and social equity. ...
... Source: [11]. ...
Article
Rapid growth in production of the farmed Vietnamese whitefish pangasius and its trade with the European Union has provoked criticism of the fish's environmental, social and safety credentials by actors including WWF and Members of the European Parliament and associated negative media coverage. This paper reviews the range of claims communicated about pangasius (identified as a form of mass mediated risk governance), in light of scientific evidence and analysis of data from the EU's Rapid Alert System for Food and Feeds food safety notification system for imported seafood. This analysis shows pangasius to be generally safe, environmentally benign and beneficial for actors along the international value chains that characterise the trade. The case is made that increasingly politicised debates in Europe around risk and uncertainty are potentially counterproductive for EU seafood security and European aquaculture industry, and that the trade in pangasius can contribute to sustainable seafood consumption in a number of ways. Transparent evidence-based assessment and systems for communicating complex issues of risk for products such as pangasius are required in order to support continuance of fair and mutually beneficial trade.
... In the recent past striped catfish farming has also developed in other countries in the region, such as for example Bangladesh (Ali et al., 2012). The rapid development of the striped catfish farming sector in the Mekong Delta, over the last decade, attracted much global attention and has not been without controversy either, particularly in respect of sustainability and market related issues (see for e.g. Bush and Duijf, 2011; De Silva and Phuong, 2011; Little et al., 2012;). Its importance has triggered many studies on a range of aspects pertaining to the sector in the recent years. ...
... As such the transportation sector is a standalone sub-sector that is crucial to the production/ market chain. However, there had not been any study on this sub-sector, the functioning and economics of which will have a significant impact on the overall viability of striped catfish farming in the Mekong Delta, a provider of food fish to many countries across the globe (Bush and Duijf, 2011; De Silva and Phuong, 2011; Little et al., 2012). Accordingly, this study deals with aspects on the transportation of fry to fingerling of striped catfish in the Mekong Delta, including a preliminary cost–benefit analysis of the sub-sector. ...
... In contrast, iridescent shark, which are also almost exclusively farmed, have only low n-3 PUFA level (Table 2). Industrial feed for iridescent shark (rice hulls, rice, soy flour, and bananas575859 ) has a relatively low concentration of n-3 PUFA and can contain around 2- 3% fish oil [57]. This has only a low impact on n-3 PUFA content as reflected by recent analyses. ...
... In contrast, iridescent shark, which are also almost exclusively farmed, have only low n-3 PUFA level (Table 2). Industrial feed for iridescent shark (rice hulls, rice, soy flour, and bananas575859 ) has a relatively low concentration of n-3 PUFA and can contain around 2- 3% fish oil [57]. This has only a low impact on n-3 PUFA content as reflected by recent analyses. ...
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Article
Background The imbalance of the n-3/n-6 ratio in the Western diet is characterised by a low intake of n-3 long-chain (LC) PUFA and a concurrent high intake of n-6 PUFA. Fish, in particular marine fish, is a unique source of n-3 LC PUFA. However, FA composition of consumed fish changed, due to the increasing usage of n-6 PUFA-rich vegetable oils in aquaculture feed and in fish processing (frying) which both lead to a further shift in n-6 PUFA to the detriment of n-3 LC PUFA. The aim of this study was to determine the ratio of n-3/n-6 including the contents of EPA and DHA in fish fillets and fish products from the German market (n=123). Furthermore, the study focussed on the FA content in farmed salmon compared to wild salmon as well as in processed Alaska pollock fillet, e.g., fish fingers. Results Total fat and FA content in fish products varied considerably depending on fish species, feed management, and food processing. Mackerel, herring and trout fillets characteristically contained adequate dietary amounts of absolute EPA and DHA, due to their high fat contents. However, despite a lower fat content, tuna, pollock, and Alaska pollock can contribute considerable amounts of EPA and DHA to the human supply. Farmed salmon are an appropriate source of EPA and DHA owing to their higher fat content compared to wild salmon (12.3 vs. 2.1 wt %), however with elevated SFA, n-9 and n-6 FA contents representing the use of vegetable oils and oilseeds in aquaculture feed. The n-3/n-6 ratio was deteriorated (2.9 vs. 12.4) but still acceptable. Compared to pure fish fillets, breaded and pre-fried Alaska pollock fillet contained extraordinarily high fat and n-6 PUFA levels. Conclusions Since fish species vary with respect to their n-3 LC PUFA contents, eating a variety of fish is advisable. High n-6 PUFA containing pre-fried fish support the imbalance of n-3/n-6 ratio in the Western diet. Thus, consumption of pure fish fillets is to be favoured. The lower n-3 PUFA portion in farmed fish can be offset by the higher fat content, however, with an unfavourable FA distribution compared to wild fellows.
... Intensively farmed fish produce significantly reduced lipids making them numerous but much less nutritious than their wild counterparts, and therefore poor contributors to food security (Beveridge et al, 2013). Unethical working practices such as child labour and absence of workers' rights noted both legitimately and unfairly in large, opaque global supply chains likewise compromise claims to social sustainability such as Fairtrade certification (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Ruiz-Salmón et al, 2020). It is noted that for as long as these practices are labelled 'sustainable', publics who increasingly value social and environmental sustainability in the fish and shellfish they consume are misinformed, and true sustainable development is inhibited (FAO, 2016;Tlusty and Thorsen 2017;Ruiz-Salmón et al, 2020). ...
... While its aims include both "safeguarding the environment and the welfare of farming communities", its standards are primarily concerned with food quality (safety and hygiene). Environmental standards were subsequently included owing to public demand (Bush and Duijf, 2011). GlobalGAP requires traceability up to the farm gate (i.e., traceability for inputs but not for processing). ...
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Book
Road to Sustainable Aquaculture: This report is presented by the Sustainable Aquaculture Working Group of the Blue Food Partnership, led by the World Economic Forum’s Friends of Ocean Action platform. The goal of the Working Group is to develop a science-based global roadmap to guide the growth of sustainable aquaculture. The report assesses the current context of aquaculture including frameworks that support responsible growth, the latest in scientific knowledge, governance structures and case studies. It is prepared by ThinkAqua on behalf of the Blue Food Partnership and made possible by the generous support of the UK Government’s Blue Planet Fund. The report draws on an evidence base from peer-reviewed literature, aquaculture industry and related websites, as well as broader stakeholder consultations. Members of the Sustainable Aquaculture Working Group contributed valuable expertise to the analysis. The Working Group will build on this report to identify actions and recommendations towards a global roadmap for sustainable aquaculture.
... This makes farmed fish numerous but insufficient contributors to food security (Beveridge et al, 2013). Unethical working practices such as child labour and absence of workers' rights noted both legitimately and unfairly in large, opaque global supply chains likewise compromise claims to social sustainability such as Fairtrade certification (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Ruiz-Salmón et al, 2020). It is noted that for as long as these practices are labelled 'sustainable', publics who increasingly value social and environmental sustainability in the fish and shellfish they consume 1 are misinformed, and true sustainable development is inhibited (FAO, 2016; Tlusty and Thorsen 2017; Ruiz-Salmón et al, 2020). ...
... political economy, macro economics), 185,186 international and multilateral politics (e.g. law, foreign policy) 135,136,187,188 and discursive analyses on the evolution, development and change of topics and framings around aquaculture (e.g. political ecology, sociology, human geography). ...
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Knowledge of the shared resources— or commons— that aquaculture systems rely on, and the appropriate rule and norm systems to govern them— or institutions— is far behind other natural resource use sectors. In this article, we provide a conceptual framework for identifying the social and environmental commons creating collective action problems for aquaculture governance. Collective action problems, or social di- lemmas, create problems for governing shared resources because the typical strate- gies for individual use (maximisation; free riding) are often divergent from broader group interests (e.g. fair contributions; sustainable use). This framework helps identify two types of collective action problems in aquaculture: first- order (direct use and provision of commons) and second- order (provision, maintenance and adaptation of institutions to govern commons). First- order aquaculture commons with governance challenges include water quality, water quantity, physical space, inputs, genetic diver- sity, mitigating infectious disease, earth and climate stability, infrastructure, knowl- edge and money. Second- order institutions govern the use of first- order commons. These include rule and norm systems that structure property rights and markets, aiming to better align individual behaviour and collective interests (e.g. sustainability goals) through governance. However, which combination of institutions will fit best is likely to be unique to context, where aquaculture has important differences from capture fisheries and agriculture. We provide four case examples applying our conceptual framework to identify existing aquaculture commons, institutions and governance challenges in Peru (mariculture), the Philippines (earthen ponds), Nepal (raceways) and Denmark (recirculation).
... political economy, macro economics), 185,186 international and multilateral politics (e.g. law, foreign policy) 135,136,187,188 and discursive analyses on the evolution, development and change of topics and framings around aquaculture (e.g. political ecology, sociology, human geography). ...
Full-text available
Article
Knowledge of the shared resources—or commons—that aquaculture systems rely on, and the appropriate rule and norm systems to govern them—or institutions—is far behind other natural resource use sectors. In this article, we provide a conceptual framework for identifying the social and environmental commons creating collective action problems for aquaculture governance. Collective action problems, or social dilemmas, create problems for governing shared resources because the typical strategies for individual use (maximisation; free riding) are often divergent from broader group interests (e.g. fair contributions; sustainable use). This framework helps identify two types of collective action problems in aquaculture: first-order (direct use and provision of commons) and second-order (provision, maintenance and adaptation of institutions to govern commons). First-order aquaculture commons with governance challenges include water quality, water quantity, physical space, inputs, genetic diversity, mitigating infectious disease, earth and climate stability, infrastructure, knowledge and money. Second-order institutions govern the use of first-order commons. These include rule and norm systems that structure property rights and markets, aiming to better align individual behaviour and collective interests (e.g. sustainability goals) through governance. However, which combination of institutions will fit best is likely to be unique to context, where aquaculture has important differences from capture fisheries and agriculture. We provide four case examples applying our conceptual framework to identify existing aquaculture commons, institutions and governance challenges in Peru (mariculture), the Philippines (earthen ponds), Nepal (raceways) and Denmark (recirculation).
... 7 The creation of VietGAP coincided with an outbreak of criticisms against Vietnamese pangasius in Europe. In 2008, European media began to report pangasius as unsafe and environmentally unsustainable, and attacks became heated in 2010 after some politicians made sensationalist claims about pangasius' negative impacts and WWF recommended that consumers avoid the fish (Bush and Duijf, 2011;Little et al., 2012). Despite lacking scientific evidence, these criticisms have damaged pangasius' reputation and reduced sales to Europe since 2010 (Little et al., 2012). ...
Article
Agricultural commodity production in the Global South is accompanied by a range of social and environmental problems ranging from pollution and deforestation to labor rights violations. Accordingly, governments and non-state actors have responded through various governance initiatives aimed at promoting sustainable commodity production. While the existing literature focuses largely on transnational standards originating in the North, we investigate “homegrown” approaches in the South by asking: what explains variation in the design and features of sustainable commodity governance led by Southern actors? By comparing sustainable aquaculture governance in Thailand, Vietnam, and China, we derive a novel conceptualization of two distinct types of homegrown governance approaches – certification standards and capability-building programs – and suggest that the choice between the two is contingent on the supply of, and demand for, sustainable commodity governance. We find decisions by Southern governments to supply governance can lock in top-down approaches and exclude potentially more impactful bottom-up approaches. We therefore argue that the material resources and normative concerns of Southern governance entrepreneurs lead to different homegrown approaches. Our findings contribute theoretical insights to the literature on transnational governance interactions and practical observations about the utility of different approaches to sustainability concerns in the Global South.
... Vị trí thị trường của cá tra thấp do nhiều nguyên nhân trong đó nguyên nhân trực tiếp là sự cạnh tranh không lành mạnh từ các nhà sản xuất thủy sản khác mà cá tra có cạnh tranh trực tiếp. Những cáo buộc về chất lượng cá tra do thiếu hiểu biết và thiên vị từ các cơ quan truyền thông châu Âu có tác động rất lớn đến nhận thức của người tiêu dùng về sản phẩm cá tra (Bush & Duijf, 2011;Littleet al., 2012). Điều này đòi hỏi Việt Nam phải có những chiến lược truyền thông và marketing mang tính toàn cầu cho sản phẩm cá tra. ...
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Article
The study used discrete choice model to investigate the position of Vietnam’s Pangasius catfish in the French market. Data was collected via a choice experiment designed for 12 aquaculture species familiar to French consumers. The random parameter model was estimated and used to calculate the share elasticity. The market position of the aquaculture products in this study was calculated based on the competitive clout, vulnerability scores, and ranked-order implicit values. The results show that Vietnam’s Pangasius has a low competitive clout, high vulnarability score, and low ranked-order implicit value. A latent class model was also estimated for comparison and acquisition of additional information. A strong segment of Pangasius (11.9%) is described by low income and education consumers, women at mid-age dominated, and family with children. To improve the Pangasius position and image in the international market, Vietnam needs promotional and marketing campaigns at global level for the product.
... Its rusticity allows the species to be cultivated intensely in highly-polluted rivers (Srivastava et al. 2014;Murk et al. 2018). Despite the advantages of large-scale production, the striped catfish has been portrayed by the media to be unsafe for consumption (Bush and Duijf 2011;Little et al. 2012). Fish farmed in contaminated areas in India were found to be capable of accumulating heavy metals, and their consumption could lead to high levels of carcinogenic risk to humans (Srivastava et al. 2014). ...
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Article
In the state of São Paulo in southeastern Brazil, a dangerous decree allows the culture of hybrids and non-native extralimital fish species in the Paraná and East Atlantic River basins. We recorded the illegal importation and sale of the non-native striped catfish Pangasianodon hypophthalmus in northeastern, central-western, southeastern, and southern areas of the country. This species is already consumed across Brazil and is cultivated for ornamental purposes. Besides escapes from fish farms and ‘fish and pays’, P. hypophthalmus can reach natural environments through aquarium dumping and ornamental ponds, motivated by its large size that reach after being sold at small size. The species has been introduced in many countries, and if established in Brazil, could put native Brazilian biodiversity and ecosystems at risk. Although importing specimens of P. hypophthalmus is prohibited by law, Decree 62.243/2016 in the state of São Paulo creates a new opportunity for invasion. In fact, once a novel fish species is moved to a new continent, it is irrational to supposed that it will stay static just in the area for which it was intended. In general, the fish disperse in the novel area on their own, by escapes from captivity or deliberate and illicit releases by persons or associations. The unwise attitude of Brazilian decision-makers and lay people in their attempt to develop aquaculture with non-native species goes against the objectives of responsible aquaculture based in native species.
... But as outlined by Gupta (2010) and Mol (2008), this also leads to questions of who defines information demands, who controls the data collected, and to what ends? Our research here will focus on understanding who controls the 'relations of definition ' (e.g. de Krom and Oosterveer, 2010;Bush and Duijf, 2011). This in turn leads to a deeper understanding of the legitimacy and credibility of expertise in shaping the globalisation of political and social action around the environment through, for instance, the digital economy. ...
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Overcoming the environmental challenges of the next century requires new modes of globalisation. To contribute, social scientists need to move beyond a constraining focus on the ills of ‘neoliberal capitalism’. Instead we need to understand how environmental reform can be achieved through the design of reflexive practices, relations and institutions that contribute to socially inclusive environmental reform under conditions of global modernity.
... Over-investment in processing facilities forced down prices for producers as processors struggled to recoup their investment, and those that survived have done so by entering into value chains with food suppliers and fish processors. In relative terms, the price of catfish in the European market halved between 2000 and 2007 when compared with sole, according to Bush & Duijf (2011). The alternative for those producers, mostly small-scale, who were unable to do this has been to turn back to production for local markets and diversify into other species or become labourers for larger producers. ...
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Vietnamese-cultivated cat fish are consistently available in British supermarkets, labelled as 'bassa fish' or 'Vietnamese river cobbler', and sold at prices which compete favourably with wild marine white fish such as haddock. Europe has a 250,000 tonne gap between annual consumption and availability from capture fisheries. From low levels of production ten years ago, farmers in the Mekong Delta have more than doubled production, but over-investment in processing has forced prices down for farmers. As a result, many small-scale producers have been forced out leaving integrated production chains of feed suppliers, production companies and processors.
... GVC analysis is a tool that has been increasingly applied to commodity value chains, in particular to analyze international trade and ways in which actors in developing countries can upgrade and strengthen their position in the chain, in this case in the global aquaculture sector (e.g. Barrett, 2002;Bush and Duijf, 2011;Jespersen et al., 2014;Ponte et al., 2014). GVC focuses on analyzing actors, structures and dynamics of value chains, focusing particularly on the typologies of various actors and the activities, linkages and relations between them (Bolwig et al., 2010). ...
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After decades of government and donor-run programs that sustained extensive aquaculture systems, Zambia has experienced market-led capital investments that have facilitated significant growth in production. The emerging commercial sector is characterized by investments in intensive cage and pond-based aquaculture of mostly non-native tilapia species, which today makes up the bulk of annual production. To better understand this transformation we used a Global Value Chain (GVC) analysis to examine evidence of upgrading trajectories and various forms of coordination that govern the chain. A quantitative survey of smallholder farmers in Northern Province (n = 223) was designed to surface insights on the productivity of small-scale farmers and evaluate their position of strength within the chain. The survey reveals the extensive nature of rural, small-scale fish farming and suggests that farmers produce mostly for subsistence purposes and in isolation from the commercializing value chain. We also provide data from 22 key informant interviews with lead firms and stakeholders in the aquaculture sector to provide insights on upgrading and the forms of coordination between nodes and firms. Our findings show that upgrading in value chains is taking place in all its forms, i.e. through investments in high value products, improvements in operations that produce more efficiently, adopting upstream or downstream chain functions, and utilizing competencies from different chains into aquaculture-related operations. Much of this is possible because of increasing vertical integration of operations and tighter contractual relationships between firms and nodes. The value chain and markets in Zambia are thus dichotomized, where on one side there is an extensive smallholder sector, supported by government-run services, and little access to inputs and markets; and on the other side, a burgeoning commercial sector with a few pioneering lead firms who have shaped the commercial value chain and who dominate total production. Finally, we combined various government statistics to reveal the growing fish supply per capita rate between 2004 and 2014. We also provide data on fish imports to locate the Zambian aquaculture value chain in the larger global picture and present some insights into what many key informants in the industry feel is an increasing obstacle facing the sector. Analyzing upgrading and coordination trends is critical in understanding the emerging aquaculture value chains in sub-Saharan Africa.
... Accordingly, the SLO as a policy instrument calls for an analysis of its capacity to exercise power in various ways. In the field of environmental policy, we find a body of critical studies addressing the role of power and marginalization in socio-environmental issues (Behagel and Arts, 2014;Dressler, 2014;Bush and Duijf, 2011). This literature critically engages with how mechanisms of power are at work in nature conservation and sustainability policy (e.g. ...
... Accordingly, the SLO as a policy instrument calls for an analysis of its capacity to exercise power in various ways. In the field of environmental policy, we find a body of critical studies addressing the role of power and marginalization in socio-environmental issues (Behagel and Arts, 2014;Dressler, 2014;Bush and Duijf, 2011). This literature critically engages with how mechanisms of power are at work in nature conservation and sustainability policy (e.g. ...
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Article
The Social Licence to Operate (SLO) is increasingly used in extractive industries both as a response to calls for greater community engagement and as a corporate sustainability strategy. Given its current popularity as a policy instrument, critiques on the SLO deserve attention. Critiques mainly focus on ambiguities that surround the processes of granting and maintaining the SLO. This article explores the negative social and environmental impacts that these ambiguities may obscure from sight. It applies a critical research approach to a case study of the diversion of the river Undai as part of the Oyu Tolgoi mining project in Mongolia and the associated construction of a SLO. The results show that neutralising discourses obscured harmful impact on nature and society. Moreover, the SLO was intimately entwined with changes in the landscape and livelihood strategies that had a harmful effect on both the livelihoods and the social identity of herders. The analysis thus validates existing critiques on the SLO and calls for more authentic engagement with local communities that specifically includes the recognition of harm.
... Despite being able to create a competitive advantage and overcome bottlenecks, catfish farming has often proved unsustainable because the balance between supply and demand in this sector seldom remains stable. The industry has also been harmed by negative publicity (Bush, 2011;FAO Globefish, 2011). Farmers have not been able to predict the profitability of their products and are almost entirely dependent on the purchasing price offered by processors and exporters (Belton et al., 2011). ...
Article
An analysis of costs and returns for striped catfish grow-out pond culturing in the Mekong Delta, Vietnam taking into consideration the factor of geographical location, was conducted. The geographical location not only had an influence on the cost but also the profitability of the enterprise. Multivariate statistical analysis showed a decline in the operating costs and benefits, depending on the location, being highest in middle stream ponds, less in upstream ponds and finally lowest in downstream ponds. However, the earning power of downstream ponds was highest, in terms of profitability associated with fingerlings, feed and energy. Cobb Douglas production function analysis revealed that net revenue earned from increasing the scale of production would increase if feed cost input rose, but whereas net revenue would decrease with an increase of input medication costs. The statistic results also showed that the size of fingerlings from middle stream ponds (1.83 cm high), the stocking density from upstream ponds (47.17 fingerlings/m(2)), and the weight of fish harvested from downstream ponds (0.86 kg/fish) are suitable for farming. Various levels of government could propagate suitable policies and put in place infrastructure to encourage farmers to use electricity for fuel instead of petroleum, to apply Global GAP (global agricultural practices) standards in production activities, to improve the competitive capacity of domestic feed processing companies, to expand fry nursery areas at downstream sites, and to increase fish prices through awareness campaigns designed to increase global demand.
... exemplified in debates about pangasius farmed in Vietnam. Throughout 2008, different political actors in Spain, Italy, the Netherlands and the European Parliament publicly denounced Vietnamese farming practices, claiming high environmental impacts of sites and raising questions about fish food safety(Bush and Duijf 2011; Little et.al., 2012).These included claims that 'the Mekong river is the one of the most heavily polluted rivers on Earth' and 'the water in which pangasius is being farmed is teeming with bacteria and poisoned with industrial effluents' (StruanStevenson, MEP, Pech committee, quoted in Little et.al., 2012: 739). These claims have been hotly contested by Scottish, Vietnamese and Dutch scientists who have counter--attacked in journal articles specifically refuting such claims based on their own research. ...
... Civil society actors appear to have achieved their goal of creating more transparency through labelling and traceability, but the question remains whether consumers are actively responding to these systems. Instead of greater consumer engagement, some research points to the growing role of retailers in consolidating their control as choice editors for consumers, both for products and information [51]. In this way, retailers decide what constitutes sustainability and choose what products and information will or will not be available to consumers: in fact a move away from democracy of information. ...
... For instance, the coffee (Ponte, 2002) and fresh vegetable (Dolan and Humphrey, 2000) industries display strong tendencies of a buyer-driven chain. Similarly, GVC research on the aquaculture industry have illustrated that lead firms in developed countries, leveraging on their financial might and buying volume, exercise disproportionate control over the other actors (not limited to fish farming firms in developing countries) (see Bush and Duijf, 2011;Saidul Islam, 2008;Wilkinson, 2006). On some occasions, the actions of the lead firms have also led to environmental degradation as well as labor insecurity at the farming sites (Barton and Fløysand, 2010;Vandergeest, 2007). ...
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Article
This paper examines the Singaporean aquaculture industry using an integrated perspective that draws on the global value chain and global production network approaches. The paper focuses especially on the upgrading efforts of the fish farming firms operating at the industry’s upstream node. Based on research and qualitative personal interviews with firms involved in the Singaporean aquaculture industry, this paper argues that the city-state’s wider institutional context – dirigisme in governing the utilization of land and sea space, and commitment to a liberalized trade regime to feed its populace – complicates the upgrading efforts of the fish farming firms. Notwithstanding the inherent complexities of economic upgrading per se, such findings prove that while upgrading is an effort driven by the firm and its cohort of stakeholders, the effort is unlikely to succeed if the broader institutional and regulatory environment that the firms are embedded in is not conducive.
... In 2010, catfish appeared on WWF's Red List that advises consumers against buying unsustainable products. Soon after, it fronted negative publicity in European media for being unsafe for consumption due to intensive use of antibiotics in production and negative environmental impact (Bush & Duijf, 2011). ...
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Article
Using an original dataset from the Vietnamese catfish sector, we study the impact of vertical coordination options on household welfare and the implications of different stages of vertical coordination for the success of the whole sector. The welfare gain from contract farming and employment on processor-owned estate farms is estimated using a maximum simulated likelihood estimator. Our results show positive welfare effects from participating in contract farming, but not from employment on processor-owned estate farms. The results imply that contract farming presents opportunities for economic growth, but additional effort is required to make the contracts more accessible to smallholders.
... At a time when ethical food choices abound, it is crucial to understand the structures, circumstances, and processes through which some food comes to be understood as 'good' or 'bad', or even simply different than other options (Guthman, 2007;Goodman et al., 2010). In the case of fish, the last major wild-caught food (Mansfield, 2003), cultural politics are interwoven into the mix of conditions that may influence decisions by its producers (Foley, 2012;Hébert, 2014), retailers (Bush and Duijf, 2011), and as we suggest in this paper, end consumers. ...
Article
This paper explores the circulation of images and words about fish that has been certified or endorsed as ‘sustainable seafood’. Specifically, our discourse analysis – of data collected from online, magazine, and television media sources targeted at North Americans – interrogates the constitution of sustainable seafood as a tenable solution to fisheries limits. We reveal three narratives populated by different messages and personalities that describe spaces of fish harvest, crisis, and consumption. By exploring the multifaceted ways that prominent organization National Geographic mediates sustainable seafood, we also show that the narratives rest easily with each other, and when taken together, present what seems like a cohesive set of cultural instructions for viewers and readers. Throughout, we question what is not present in the narratives and highlight how sustainable seafood as a cultural phenomenon opens up new material and political-economic opportunities for some. In sum, we trace a cultural politics that constitutes sustainable seafood as a tenable solution to fisheries limits, obscures the complexities of industrial fisheries, and generates new opportunities for accumulation. Our analysis and discussion pushes research regarding the contemporary cultural politics of sustainability towards an array of media organizations and formats and encourages further consideration of intimate identity politics.
... This is not to imply a lack of geographical research on fisheries in general. Indeed, there is a significant corpus of research, which is tangentially political economic, focusing on the issues of certification, health, and value on one hand (Hall 2010;Bush and Duijf 2011;de Vos and Bush 2011;Mansfield 2011) and the industry's impact on the environment and rural development on the other (Schurman 1996;Salmi 2005). Straddling both of these broad thematic foci are works that explicitly look at the role of broader institutions and market-oriented policies in shaping fisheries (Barton 1997;Mansfield 2006;Bush 2010). ...
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Article
Fish protein is projected to make up increasing proportions of our protein intake in the years to come with increasing supply coming from aquaculture. Despite its fast increasing economic importance, there is a relative paucity of research on aquaculture from the standpoint of economic geography. This paper contributes to this literature by first reviewing the socio-economics of certification of fish and the role of aquaculture in economic development – two of the more pervasive research strands in aquaculture. Following that, we show how global commodity chain perspectives can augment geographical research on aquaculture. We argue that despite some shortcomings, the global commodity chain approach is a viable approach to examine the aquaculture industry because of its ability to elucidate the uneven and contested nature of commodity and other resource flows between the production, distribution, and consumption nodes and its potential to analyze the impacts of the wider regulatory and institutional environment on the industry.
... Several studies find on-going consolidation and vertical integration within the aquaculture industry in Vietnam, driven by demands placed by international food safety, quality, and sustainability standards and certification schemes (Bush, Khiem, & Sinh, 2009;Khiem, Bush, Chau, & Loc, 2010). According to Khiem et al. (2010) and Pham, Bush, Mol, and Kroeze (2011), pressure from buyers in the EU and US related to food safety and sustainability of farmed seafood has prompted value chain upgrading, but recent uncertainty due to unfounded claims and media attention regarding the environmental, social, and food safety aspects of pangasius aquaculture may undermine the viability of the industry (Bush & Duijf, 2011;Little, Bush, Belton, Phuong, Young, & Murray, 2012). The literature also highlights other barriers to further upgrading, such as lack of explicit economic incentives (improved market access or increased price), limited access to capital to invest in improved management practices, and lack of appropriate skills for smallholders-in light of the economic risks associated with market volatility and quality regulation faced by aquaculture farmers in global markets (see also . ...
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Article
In this article, we examine the upgrading trajectories of selected aquaculture value chains in four Asian countries and the links between upgrading and three factors of value chain governance: coordination mechanisms; types of drivers; and domestic regulation. We find instances of improving products, processes, and value chain coordination—while “moving up” the value chain is rare. We also find that the type of value chain driver and the quality of the domestic regulatory framework are main facilitators of upgrading. We conclude by highlighting lessons on the potential, limits and risks of upgrading the “blue revolution” in Asia.
... Building on Mansfield's (2003) essay on the social construct of 'quality' in surimi (fish paste) production, Bush and Duijf (2011) explored how sustainability distinctions made by large food retailers in the United Kingdom work to regulate pangasius (catfish-like species) aquaculture practices in Vietnam through the threat of reduced market access. They demonstrated the influence that high volume food retailers exert within value chains and find that, for these actors, the "operationalisation of sustainability as a food quality shows much promise to regulate fisheries and aquaculture" (194, italics mine). ...
Article
This article interrogates shellfish aquaculture expansion efforts and outcomes in British Columbia (BC), Canada. While the clearest objectives of the Provincial Government's 1998 Shellfish Development Initiative were to privatize new ocean tenures and increase the wholesale value of the BC shellfish aquaculture sector, the analysis identifies and explores a range of government-led and government-funded interventions that emerged to discipline coastal space and subjects accordingly. These include: classifying productive space and projecting economic potential; identifying beneficiaries and enrolling Indigenous First Nations entrepreneurs; and, generating supportive knowledge, practice and public relations. I argue that these efforts work to produce ‘new shellfish growing regions’ imagined to be homogeneously ideal for shellfish aquaculture. They also reinforce the notion that coastal residents, especially First Nations, must adopt very specific outlooks and practices before the sector's full economic potential can be met. Theorizing these processes in terms of neoliberalization provides important perspective at a time when aquaculture is being widely promoted for its potential as an approach to economic modernization and sustainability in coastal communities in BC and beyond.
... Some farmers would occasionally shift to fingerling production or production of fish species that are demanded in the domestic market. The fluctuations in demand for pangasius, partly coupled with high levels of uncertainty in retail markets are brought by claims about poor quality of the fish and unsustainable production practices in European media and NGO initiatives (Bush & Duijf, 2011). As a response to tight market conditions, the pangasius sector has seen a spread of quality and safety standards both at the farm and the processor level. ...
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Article
We estimate the causal effect of food standards on Vietnamese pangasius farmers’ wellbeing measured by per capita consumption expenditure. We estimate both the average effects and the local average treatment effects on poorer and richer farmers by instrumental variable quantile regression. Our results indicate that large returns can be accrued from food standards, but only for the upper middle-class farmers, i.e., those between the 50% and 85% quantiles of the expenditure distribution. Overall, our result points to an exclusionary impact of standards for the poorest farmers while the richest do not apply standards because the added gain is too small.
... Pollution caused by the aquaculture sector in the delta received considerable public attention in Vietnam as well as in the receiving countries for the products. Bush and Duijf ( 2011 ) recently analyzed the role of political economy in the perceptions and regulations with regard to the quality of Pangasius and pointed to the fact that several recent studies (Anh et al. 2010 ;Bosma et al. 2009 ;De Silva et al. 2010 ) concluded that Pangasius and shrimp production would pollute water resources to a lesser extent then formerly anticipated although there was plenty of room for improvement. ...
... Pollution caused by the aquaculture sector in the delta received considerable public attention in Vietnam as well as in the receiving countries for the products. Bush and Duijf ( 2011 ) recently analyzed the role of political economy in the perceptions and regulations with regard to the quality of Pangasius and pointed to the fact that several recent studies (Anh et al. 2010 ;Bosma et al. 2009 ;De Silva et al. 2010 ) concluded that Pangasius and shrimp production would pollute water resources to a lesser extent then formerly anticipated although there was plenty of room for improvement. ...
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Chapter
The economy of the Vietnamese Mekong Delta is based mainly on agriculture which is in turn heavily relying on the availability of fresh water of good quality. Under the Doi Moi (Renovation) process starting in 1986, agriculture and aquaculture production intensified rapidly partially through increased utilisation of agrichemicals such as fertilizer, pesticides, and veterinary products which contribute to non-point source pollution of aquatic ecosystems. Due to increased pollution by these agrichemicals, the capacity of freshwater systems to provide essential ecosystem services such as to maintain agriculture and aquaculture productivity and sustain human health is therefore under great pressure. This chapter reviews the main pathways of non-point source pollution to the water systems originating from agricultural production and addresses the trade-offs between agriculture and freshwater provisioning. Additionally, the chapter identifies possible measures that have been or could be implemented by the agricultural sector in order to enhance the sustainability of the water based agricultural activities in the Mekong Delta.
... A recent Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO) workshop (Bondad-Reantaso and Prein, 2010) defined small-scale aquaculture as a continuum across a fairly broad range of characteristics. For example, in the Viet Nam Pangasius industry the "medium-size" farmers involved tend to have the critical mass of capital which allows them to create the economies of scale large enough to maintain access to global value chains ( Bush and Duijf, 2011). This contrasts markedly with shrimp in Viet Nam, where production systems are large in terms of area but have relatively small outputs (Thanh et al, unpubl. ...
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Article
Significant changes in our understanding of the interrelationships between aquaculture and poverty have occurred in the last decade. In particular, there is a growing realization that the impacts of aquaculture need to be assessed from a value-chain perspective rather than through a narrow production focus. In recent years, understandings of poverty and the forms, outcomes and importance of aquaculture have also shifted. Terms in current use are first clarified, including those related to scale and location of aquaculture. The evolution of aquaculture from traditional to modern forms and its role as a central feature or more secondary part of household livelihoods are considered. Definitions of poverty and resilience and the potential roles of aquaculture in supporting poorer people are discussed in the light of recent research. The role and impacts of targeted interventions to support poverty alleviation are discussed and the potential negative impacts of aquaculture on poor peoples’ livelihoods are presented. The concept of “well-being” is presented to support interpretation of the potential impacts of aquaculture on food and nutritional security. Strategies to ensure self-sufficiency of aquatic foods at the household, community, national and international scale are considered. Access and food security issues affecting aquaculture and capture fisheries and the nature of farming are critiqued in the light of a broader literature. The role of ponds in meeting broader nutritional security needs and within rural livelihoods is discussed and the importance of incorporation into both local and more extended value chains examined. Since its take off as a major food-producing activity in the last few decades, aquaculture in many places remains a family business. Private governance through certification has emerged as a potential game changer in aquaculture, bringing with it the potential for exclusion of poorer producers from global value chains and associated implications for poverty alleviation. A distinction between the dynamic changes accompanying quasi-commercial and commercial aquaculture development, often in transforming economies, is contrasted with the incremental benefits associated with “quasi-peasant” aquaculture previously most associated with poverty alleviation through interventions supported by national and international organizations. A rethink regarding how poverty is most effectively reduced or its alleviation supported through aquaculture by supporting actors within value chains rather than with a sole-producer focus is advanced. An agenda allied to that proposed in the World Development Report 2008 (World Bank, 2007) for agriculture generally is proposed. This assesses the importance of aquaculture development as part of the measures to mitigate water scarcity and to support sustainable intensification of food production generally, while acknowledging the need to strengthen rural-urban linkages and continue the development of appropriate safety nets for the poorest groups.
... All rights reserved. doi:10.1016/j.geoforum.2011.02.008 attention has been paid to the broader political economic context that shaped the industry's development (although see Bush and Duijf, 2011;Loc et al., 2009;Sinh, 2007 for recent exceptions), and empirically based accounts of the changes experienced by those actors engaged in or affected by the industry have been almost completely lacking. Moreover, whilst there is a wealth of academic literature addressing various aspects of agrarian change in Vietnam post doi moi (see for example Kerkvliet and Porter, 1995;Boselie, 2002;Yamazaki, 2004), much of this omits attention to the issue of how micro level state-society relations have shaped development. ...
Article
The growth of intensive export-oriented Pangasius catfish production in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta is unparalleled in terms of rapidity and scale by any other agricultural sector, with production climbing from a low base to more than 1 million tons in a single decade. This paper examines the effects of this remarkable change on the rural class structure in locations where catfish farming has boomed, and analyses the role of local state-society relations in mediating outcomes resulting from the integration of local actors into the global value chain. We conclude that private economic activity is deeply embedded in informal relations with the state bureaucracy in Vietnam, with the result that the expansion of catfish aquaculture has generally acted to reproduce and entrench existing class relations rather leading to a radical reconfiguration of the rural class structure.Highlights► Export-oriented Pangasius catfish production has boomed extremely rapidly in Vietnam. ► Catfish producers are entrepreneurial individuals, not quasi-peasant cultivators. ► The ability to culture Pangasius successfully is mediated by informal access to resources. ► Pangasius culture has mainly resulted in the reproduction of pre-existing class relations.
Article
Nongovernmental private organizations have used certification as a governance instrument to advance the socioenvironmental and ethical sustainability of industrial aquaculture. Though started by organic pioneers, the landscape of aquaculture certification has rapidly altered since the late 1990s with the emergence of nonorganic initiatives accelerated by socioeconomic and environmental crises affecting aquaculture production. However, evidence regarding when, how, and why various schemes have emerged and evolved is scarce. Informed by the path-dependence perspective, this study chronicles the emergence and evolution of four organic and six nonorganic transnational nongovernmental aquaculture certification schemes. Drawing on archival records, this study notes that the dynamics of markets, politics, and ideas have played a decisive role in the creation and proliferation of schemes, species-specific standards, and certification programs. By dividing the evolutionary period into two timescales, 1970–1999 and 2000–2021, this study documents the intense competition among certification agencies spurred by the demand for farmed seafood in international markets. A nonorganic certification scheme was dissolved because of a credibility crisis and criticisms, whereas other schemes continue to thrive. However, the recent consolidation of major nonorganics and their growing involvement in the wild fishery industry put the aquaculture certification field in a state of uncertainty. This study provides important insight into the advancement of program-level harmonization initiatives and how the limits of those measures can be overcome to resolve confusion and duplication of certification schemes.
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Abstract This paper uses multimedia to showcase the narratives and lived experiences of those who live and work in tropical Asian mega‐deltas, and as such is the first journal article of its kind in the field of Regional Geography. Using videos, photography and audio this paper describes the characteristics of ponds and their place in the intrinsically connected human‐environmental fabric of these delta regions. The aim is to bring to life descriptive inventories and provide greater weight in support of our conclusion that tropical Asian mega‐delta ponds are important and threatened systems. River deltas comprise just 1% of land cover worldwide but support the livelihoods of more than 500 million people. Delta research has historically focused on the major river channels and the socio‐ecological role of ponds has been overlooked despite their large number and surface area. Ponds are intrinsically linked to daily life (potable water, sanitation, bathing, washing), industry (aquaculture, agriculture) and the natural‐cultural heritage (religion, folklore) of deltas. In contrast to the larger river channels, ponds are likely to be significant stores and processors of nutrients, including carbon, and pollutants at annual to decadal scales, on account of their heavy anthropogenic use and smaller individual sizes. Consequently, they are severely polluted water sources and pose significant public health risks. In this review, we use case studies from three Asian mega‐deltas (the Red River Delta and the Mekong River Delta, Vietnam, and the Ganges‐Brahmaputra‐Meghna Delta, India and Bangladesh) to highlight the importance of Asian mega‐delta ponds as important socio‐ecological systems in their own right. We discuss future environmental challenges, knowledge gaps on the ecological function and biodiversity of these habitats, management and policy practices, and the capacity of ponds to achieve the UN Sustainable Development Goals.
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Agri-food systems (AFS) have been central in the debate on sustainable development. Despite this growing interest in AFS, comprehensive analyses of the scholarly literature are hard to find. Therefore, the present systematic review delineated the contours of this growing research strand and analyzed how it relates to sustainability. A search performed on the Web of Science in January 2020 yielded 1389 documents, and 1289 were selected and underwent bibliometric and topical analyses. The topical analysis was informed by the SAFA (Sustainability Assessment of Food and Agriculture systems) approach of FAO and structured along four dimensions viz. environment, economy, society and culture, and policy and governance. The review shows an increasing interest in AFS with an exponential increase in publications number. However, the study field is north-biased and dominated by researchers and organizations from developed countries. Moreover, the analysis suggests that while environmental aspects are sufficiently addressed, social, economic, and political ones are generally overlooked. The paper ends by providing directions for future research and listing some topics to be integrated into a comprehensive, multidisciplinary agenda addressing the multifaceted (un)sustainability of AFS. It makes the case for adopting a holistic, 4-P (planet, people, profit, policy) approach in agri-food system studies.
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Vietnamese pangasius achieved global status as a highly competitive whitefish as exports to Europe, United States, Asian, and Latin American countries have grown at a rapid pace. Accelerated growth rates have met with a number of challenges that can be potentially converted to opportunities to foster further progress and expansion in exports. This study is a review of literature that examines the various economic and market issues facing the industry in the EU market. The review suggests that at the domestic level farmers must be organized alongside vertical integration to improve quality and supply consistency. Vertical integration may help reduce farm operating costs and increase farmer profit. High interest rates, fluctuating exchange rates, access to credit, lack of capital acquisition by small farmers, and product risks are key economic issues confronting the industry, whereas product quality and standards, product image, and rejection pose financial pressure on farmers, processors, and exporters. The fish, pangasius competes well in the white fish market and key product characteristics are well suited to vertical integration and horizontal differentiation in various and diverse EU markets. The industry may employ a combination of vertical and mixed product differentiation for improved product image and market share expansion in the EU white fish market.
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This text analyses the regulation and certification process of Chilean salmon farming based on the discourse of its actors. First we will show how new governance structures in the neoliberal context are a result of negotiation processes between diverse actors. Secondly, we will argue how said governance manages to articulate environmental rationalities and interests of a variety of actors from industry and civil society, however at the cost of minimizing socio-labor issues and suppressing the question of who has access to the use of nature. This implies privatizing common marine resources and contributes towards excluding several organized actors.
Book
With the ever rising demand for meat around the world, the production of meat has changed dramatically in the past few decades. What has brought about the increasing popularity and attendant normalization of factory farms across many parts of the world? What are some of the ways to resist such broad convergences in meat production and how successful are they? This book locates the answers to these questions at the intersection between the culture, science and political economy of meat production and consumption. It details how and why techniques of production have spread across the world, albeit in a spatially uneven way. It argues that the modern meat production and consumption sphere is the outcome of a complex matrix of cultural politics, economics and technological faith. Drawing from examples across the world (including America, Europe and Asia), the tensions and repercussions of meat production and consumption are also analyzed. From a geographical perspective, food animals have been given considerably less attention compared to wild animals or pets. This book, framed conceptually by critical animal studies, governmentality and commodification, is a theoretically driven and empirically rich study that advances the study of food animals in geography as well as in the wider social sciences.
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The paper examined if there was any dependence between product and hazard categories in the Rapid Alert System for Food and Feed notifications in 2008-2015 using the cluster analysis. It also analysed which the dependences between particular product and hazard categories took into consideration the type of notifications and also other variables, i.e. year, notifying country, notification basis, risk decision, distribution status and action taken using scatterplots. It was noticed that the notifications were most frequently related to: pathogenic micro-organisms in meat and meat products (other than poultry), poultry meat and poultry meat products and heavy metals in fish and fish products (for alert notifications), pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables (for information notifications) and mycotoxins in nuts, nut products and seeds and pesticide residues in fruits and vegetables (for border rejections, which were almost half of the notifications). However, these categories were not always most frequently notified and also there were some changes in the number of notifications each year. Six countries were particularly active in notifying: Germany, Italy, Netherlands and the United Kingdom and also France and Spain. The notification basis were mainly official controls on the market for alert notifications and information notifications or border control (consignment detained) for border rejections. The risk was usually undecided or serious for alert notifications and undecided for information notifications and border rejections.The action taken was withdrawal from the market for alert and information notifications or re-dispatch and destruction for border rejections. The trends in the number of notifications can be helpful in the legislative process and planning controls and audits. Consumer attention should be to a greater extent paid to products manufactured in Europe. Further research should concern detailed identification of hazards in particular product categories, including type of notifications and also product origin, if possible.
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This text follows the public regulatory and the private certificatory paths undergone in the last decade by the widely criticized salmon industry in Chile, with the purpose of exploring the political process that underlies this path. The discussion focuses on the several instances in which both industrial actors and oppositional groups have stabilized those conflicts by sitting down at formally established dialogue tables, which, as we will see, have conducted public and private processes of regulation. In particular, we follow two paths: one promoted and overseen by the public sector and the other a process of self-organization and self-control of the industry at the national and global levels, which initially led to processes of self-certification and third-party certification. We argue that it cannot be reduced to an industrial learning due to the economic cost of disease outbreaks but rather that it is the outcome of a contested political process with interplay between global and local actors. This argument challenges the learning narratives espoused by the industry, contributing to a political ecology of certification processes. It analyzes the outcome of this process showing its contested political and social legitimacy, and the interplay between labor and environment within this regulatory path.
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In response to increasing concerns about sustainable production, a growing number of European customers expect seafood products to be certified, e.g. by ASC certification. A possible answer to achieve environmental sustainability of Vietnamese pangasius farming is to apply recirculating aquaculture systems (RASs) at the farm. However, RAS requires relatively high initial investments and therefore its adoption depends largely on the economic feasibility in the Vietnamese farming context. The latter includes not only economic factors but also socio-demographic characteristics of the farmers.This study uses a choice experiment to measure farmers' preferences for RAS in pangasius production in Vietnam.
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Using an original dataset from the Vietnamese catfish sector, we study the impact of vertical coordination options on household welfare and the implications of different stages of vertical coordination for the success of the whole sector. The welfare gain from contract farming and employment on processor-owned estate farms is estimated using a maximum simulated likelihood estimator. Our results show positive welfare effects from participating in contract farming, but not from employment on processor-owned estate farms. The results imply that contract farming presents opportunities for economic growth, but additional effort is required to make the contracts more accessible to smallholders.
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Policy analysis matrices are developed and used to derive domestic resource cost coefficients for different catfish farm production regions in the United States. The results show that U.S. catfish producers were losing their comparative advantage positions during the study period considered. An import tariff improves the industry's comparative advantage position, but may not increase its market profitability. Higher efficiency in feed usage, and higher market prices paid to producers through promotional efforts are essential to the U.S. catfish industry.
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We estimate the causal effect of food standards on Vietnamese pangasius farmers’ wellbeing measured by per capita consumption expenditure. We estimate both the average effects and the local average treatment effects on poorer and richer farmers by instrumental variable quantile regression. Our results indicate that large returns can be accrued from food standards, but only for the upper middle-class farmers, i.e., those between the 50% and 85% quantiles of the expenditure distribution. Overall, our result points to an exclusionary impact of standards for the poorest farmers while the richest do not apply standards because the added gain is too small.
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Geographers first identified aquaculture as an important field of study during the 1990s, pointing to a ‘net deficit’ in geographical knowledge about the activity. This paper examines how far geographers have come in bridging this knowledge deficit in the last 20 years. While increasing attention has focused on the political economy of export products consumed in the global North, ‘everyday’ geographies of aquaculture production and consumption in the global South have been neglected. We argue that paying greater attention to everyday aquaculture in the global South provides opportunities for geographers to engage with wider questions around development and change that extend far beyond aquaculture. By focusing on changing patterns of aquaculture production for Southern domestic markets, geographers can provide a counterpoint to Northern dominated agro-food studies by re-emphasising the importance of consumption, urbanisation and agrarian transitions from a more place-based perspective and, in doing so, support the development of theory that reflects Southern realties.
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Convention theory helps refine our understanding of the governance of global value chains through its analysis of ‘quality’. In this article, it is argued that global value chains are becoming increasingly ‘buyer-driven’, even though they are characterized by ‘hands-off’ forms of co-ordination between ‘lead firms’ and their immediate suppliers. This is because lead firms have been able to embed complex quality information into widely accepted standards and codification and certification procedures. As suggested by convention theory, their success in doing so has depended on defining and managing value chain-specific quality attributes that are attuned to broader narratives about quality that circulate within society more generally.
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Food and agricultural standards have recently risen to the top of both national and international agendas. Popular concerns about the power of the World Trade Organization focus on the intertwined relationships between environmental protection, labor and human rights, and the standards used to produce and supply our food and fiber globally. In the developing world, agricultural grades and standards are an important part of the reconfiguration of roles and responsibilities between various public and private actors in market reform. This original and informative collection of studies of agri-food standards in the modern economy addresses these and helps to define the scope of the emerging study of the politics of standards setting. Following an overview essay dealing with the multiple ways of thinking about, approaching and defining food and agricultural standards, eleven case studies offer a rich body of evidence that assesses the processes, dynamics and potential consequences of global agri-food standards. For all interested in the strategic use of food and agricultural standards – from those in national and international governmental agencies, researchers and others in the academic and private sector to those in the private business sector – this volume offers a broader perspective on and will serve as an important resource.
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The extent to which governments are able to make intelligent policy choices — that is, are able to adjust, develop, formulate and implement appropriate measures and programmes in response to political problems — has typically been analyzed on the basis of purely national factors. In other words, national policy capacity is explained by reference to characteristics of the political and legal systems, civil service and bureaucracy, state-society relations and patterns of administrative interest intermediation, as well as the organization of civil society (Knill, 1999; Pollitt and Bouckaert, 2000; van Waarden, 1995).
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The proliferation of voluntary certification and labelling schemes for environmentally and socially responsible production is often seen as driven by companies and consumer demand. Through a careful examination of the initiation and spread of such initiatives in the fishery and forestry sectors, this paper challenges a rational–economic perspective that sees the spread of nonstate governance schemes primarily as a market-driven phenomenon. Drawing on a political consumerism perspective, the paper argues that transnational environmental group networks and their targeting of firms were key to the emergence of nonstate eco-labelling schemes, and that most firms decided to support or participate in such schemes only after intensive environmental group pressure. The paper opposes the view that nonstate governance challenges traditional state authority, by showing that states, through public procurement policies and support, contributed to create markets for forestry and fishery labelling in many countries. Although some states have been more sceptical of fishery labelling, largely because of the way fishery resources are managed, they have come to accept it as a helpful supplement to public rules and regulations.
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Abstract  The last decade has witnessed a dramatic rise in global trade in food and agricultural products. While much analysis has focused on the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in this process, we argue that other forms of regulation are of far greater consequence. In this paper, we examine changes in the agrifood system made possible by the WTO and we assess the rise of global private standards. We argue that the new global rules, regulations, and institutions implemented by the WTO have facilitated the ability of the private agrifood sector to consolidate and expand internationally. Of particular importance is the growing influence of food retailers as they rapidly become more global and oligopolistic. The article concludes that today it is the private sector, and retailers in particular, together with private standards that are at the center of the transformation of the global agrifood system.
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Commodity chains that once involved a stepwise progression through multiple global, national and local scales are increasingly controlled through new ‘spaces’ of information and access, beyond the reach of scale-dependent governance regimes such as the state. Thus, to determine the geography of trade, the source and influence of information and the relevance of governance systems which mediate access and control over coastal resources requires an understanding both of the global and locally articulated trade networks. This article uses the case of Southeast Asia shrimp production and trade to examine the linkages between material commodity transfers through the ‘space of place’ and the movement of information through the ‘space of flows’. Linking these two spaces is particularly challenging in information-poor societies where flows of information, technology and consumer perceptions back to these areas pass through a ‘black box’, limiting clear lines of exchange between producers and globally connected exporters.
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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.
Article
Sutchi catfish (Pangasius hypophthalmus) produced in the freshwater basins of Vietnam, available on the Italian market as frozen or thawed fillets, were studied for their nutritional quality and safety aspects. Proximate composition, mineral content, fatty acid profile, unsaponifiable components of the lipid fraction and drip loss during thawing at 5°C were determined on the fillets. Fillets were characterised by high moisture levels (80-85%) and low protein (12.6-15.6%) and lipid (1.1-3.0%) contents. Total lipids were characterised by low cholesterol levels (21-39mg/100g), high percentages of saturated fatty acids (41.1-47.8% of total fatty acid) and low percentages of polyunsaturated fatty acids (12.5-18.8% of total fatty acids), which were mainly represented by linoleic acid (44-59% of total polyunsaturated fatty acids). The mineral composition was characterised by a high sodium content (222-594mg/100g), probably partially due to the sodium tripolyphosphate (E 451) used to retain moisture. As regards safety aspects, the quality of the samples analysed was good, with low residue levels of mercury, organochlorine pesticides and polychlorinated biphenyls. Copyright © 2008 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
Article
This article analyses Fair Trade, its evolution and the challenges it faces, in the light of the convention theory and its application to the ambit of agro-food.The article reviews the different meanings and models of what has come to be called Fair Trade, since its beginning as alternative trade, considered as the prototype of a “civic coordination”, to its insertion into the large distribution channels through the labeling strategy, that is, when it is reinforced by “market coordination”. It discusses the possibility of Fair Trade being re-absorbed by the market logic and captured by the dominant actors of the food system who, attracted by its success, have already adopted strategies to win the promising niche market for themselves, while producers preoccupied with the struggle for survival and looking for the possibility of increasing sales volumes, require to move beyond the limits of marginal distribution circuits and to enter the market full steam.To counter this risk, one key element in strengthening Fair Trade is to empower the label as a base for network legitimacy and a product of social interaction. This means to reinforce the civic coordination by public authority through the state recognition and the institutionalization of their symbol. On the other hand, it is important not to lose sight of the social interactions on which Fair Trade was built and of the importance of mobilizing them, since those who control the mechanisms of this social interaction have the power to impose their legitimate vision of the quality. In this sense, the article integrates the issue of power largely forgotten in the studies on quality.
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Although they are ubiquitous, grades and standards are usually considered to be merely convenient technologies for organizing and regulating markets so as to reduce transaction costs. In contrast, in this paper it is argued that grades and standards are part of the moral economy of the modern world. Grades and standards both set norms for behavior and standardize (create uniformity). Grades and standards standardize (1) things, (2) workers, (3) markets, (4) capitalists, (5) standards themselves, (6) those who make the standards, (7) consumers, and (8) the environment. Grades and standards may be established by (1) national and international governmental standards bodies, (2) industry and independent standards setting bodies, (3) industry leaders, (4) specialized standards setting bodies, or (5) purchasing agents. Who participates in setting the standards, the processes by which standards are set and what the consequences of setting the standards are have considerable impact on fundamental questions about who we are and how we shall live.
Article
This paper addresses the cultural economy of nature and the material culture of economic practice. Attending to ways that cultural notions about the biophysical world play key roles in political economic conflicts, discussion centers on two recent debates involving the cultural economy of seafood production and trade. The first debate is over whether the label “catfish” should include catfish imported from Vietnam into the United States; the second deals with whether fish and shellfish should be eligible to be certified “organic” under new US regulations. Analysis reveals that the key dynamic in these debates is not necessarily how people think about “nature”, but instead is how people make distinctions about the world. Rather than focusing on what is natural or not, key actors make distinctions among both organisms and environments. The ways that different groups define and enclose the biophysical world works to distinguish places as either appropriate or not for certain kinds of production activities. The overall argument is that significance and meaning of the biophysical become implicated in economic geographies by making distinctions about the world that then become important for how economic activity can work. As such, cultural economic approaches should attend to the ways that the biophysical is involved in relations such as competition and international trade, while nature–society approaches should shift focus from Nature to specific aspects of the biophysical world.