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Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum

Author

Listed:
  • Michael Tlusty

    () (John H. Prescott Marine Laboratory, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Heather Tausig

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Tania Taranovski

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Meghan Jeans

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Matt Thompson

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Michelle Cho

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Michael Eppling

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Jason J. Clermont

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Jennifer Goldstein

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

  • Elizabeth Fitzsimons

    () (Sustainable Seafood Program, New England Aquarium, Boston, MA 02110, USA)

Abstract

Globally, seafood is an important protein source because it is a nutritious food source produced with relative efficiency compared to other proteins. Because of problems related to overfishing and deleterious environmental impacts, over the last decade, non-governmental organizations (NGOs) have increased their focus on seafood sustainability while businesses have incorporated this issue into their corporate social responsibility (CSR) reporting. Sustainability is a concept that can be addressed in terms of scale of issues considered (narrow vs . broad) as well as the scope of how they are measured (undemanding or demanding). Currently, the message of seafood sustainability is becoming complicated in that the journey toward sustainability is being referred to as having achieved a state of sustainability. In addition, companies making a “sustainable” declaration are often at different points in the “scale/scope” arena. As a result, buyers, retailers and consumers have difficulty differentiating between these products. Furthermore, they often assume that a “sustainable” product has no further need for improvement, when in fact this is rarely the case. This change in reference from a continual process (a journey) to a static point (it is sustainable) limits further advances in seafood sustainability and the drive for continual improvement. Herein, the “Law of the Minimum”, growth toward an end goal will occur until one factor becomes limiting, is adopted as an analogy for sustainability. By refocusing the sustainability discussion on a progressive series of challenges to be met, the discussion will return to the journey as the central point. Doing so will help refresh the dialogue around seafood, and to create new opportunities for improvement.

Suggested Citation

  • Michael Tlusty & Heather Tausig & Tania Taranovski & Meghan Jeans & Matt Thompson & Michelle Cho & Michael Eppling & Jason J. Clermont & Jennifer Goldstein & Elizabeth Fitzsimons, 2012. "Refocusing Seafood Sustainability as a Journey Using the Law of the Minimum," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 4(9), pages 1-13, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:gam:jsusta:v:4:y:2012:i:9:p:2038-2050:d:19815
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
    1. Hueting, Roefie & Reijnders, Lucas, 2004. "Broad sustainability contra sustainability: the proper construction of sustainability indicators," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 50(3-4), pages 249-260, October.
    2. Jacquet, Jennifer L. & Pauly, Daniel, 2007. "The rise of seafood awareness campaigns in an era of collapsing fisheries," Marine Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(3), pages 308-313, May.
    Full references (including those not matched with items on IDEAS)

    More about this item

    Keywords

    aquaculture; continual improvement; ecolabel; fisheries; law of the minimum; Liebig; phenomenology; seafood; sustainability;

    JEL classification:

    • Q - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics
    • Q0 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - General
    • Q2 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Renewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q3 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Nonrenewable Resources and Conservation
    • Q5 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics
    • Q56 - Agricultural and Natural Resource Economics; Environmental and Ecological Economics - - Environmental Economics - - - Environment and Development; Environment and Trade; Sustainability; Environmental Accounts and Accounting; Environmental Equity; Population Growth
    • O13 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Agriculture; Natural Resources; Environment; Other Primary Products

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