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Whitefish wars: Pangasius, politics and consumer confusion in Europe

Author

Listed:
  • Little, David C.
  • Bush, Simon R.
  • Belton, Ben
  • Thanh Phuong, Nguyen
  • Young, James A.
  • Murray, Francis J.

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Little, David C. & Bush, Simon R. & Belton, Ben & Thanh Phuong, Nguyen & Young, James A. & Murray, Francis J., 2012. "Whitefish wars: Pangasius, politics and consumer confusion in Europe," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 36(3), pages 738-745.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:marpol:v:36:y:2012:i:3:p:738-745
    DOI: 10.1016/j.marpol.2011.10.006
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Ponte, Stefano & Kelling, Ingrid & Jespersen, Karen Sau & Kruijssen, Froukje, 2014. "The Blue Revolution in Asia: Upgrading and Governance in Aquaculture Value Chains," World Development, Elsevier, vol. 64(C), pages 52-64.
    2. Neda Trifković, 2014. "Food Standards and Vertical Coordination in Aquaculture: The Case of Pangasius from Vietnam," IFRO Working Paper 2014/01, University of Copenhagen, Department of Food and Resource Economics.
    3. Xavier Tezzo & Simon R. Bush & Peter Oosterveer & Ben Belton, 2021. "Food system perspective on fisheries and aquaculture development in Asia," Agriculture and Human Values, Springer;The Agriculture, Food, & Human Values Society (AFHVS), vol. 38(1), pages 73-90, February.
    4. Marschke, Melissa & Wilkings, Ann, 2014. "Is certification a viable option for small producer fish farmers in the global south? Insights from Vietnam," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 50(PA), pages 197-206.
    5. Jespersen, Karen Sau & Kelling, Ingrid & Ponte, Stefano & Kruijssen, Froukje, 2014. "What shapes food value chains? Lessons from aquaculture in Asia," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 49(P1), pages 228-240.
    6. Sun, Yixian & van der Ven, Hamish, 2020. "Swimming in their own direction: Explaining domestic variation in homegrown sustainability governance for aquaculture in Asia," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 167(C).

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