Ecolabelling and fisheries management
National and intergovernmental regulation of fisheries has not prevented many failures of fisheries management around the world. New approaches to improving the environmental sustainability of fisheries have included the certification of fisheries harvested by sustainable means, and the ecolabelling of fish and seafood products from certified fisheries. The intention is to use the power of markets as an incentive to induce more sustainable fisheries. To date, only a relatively small number of fisheries have been certified, and these have been predominantly in developed countries. Critiques from developing countries of ecolabelling, as currently formulated, focus on five general areas: (1) legitimacy and credibility; (2) a mismatch between certification requirements and the reality of tropical small-scale fisheries; (3) potential distortions to existing practices and livelihoods; (4) equity and feasibility; and (5) perceived barriers to trade. This paper reviews these developing country concerns on the basis of already certified fisheries, and on experiences from forestry, aquaculture and the aquarium industry, and also examines precedents and trends in international environmental and trade issues. It suggests that ecolabelling as currently practiced is unlikely to be widely adopted in Asian countries. Certification may have sporadic success in some eco-conscious, or niche, markets but it is unlikely to stimulate global improvement of fisheries management.
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- Williams, M.J. (ed.), 1998. "A roadmap for the future for fisheries and conservation," Working Papers, The WorldFish Center, number 12754, July.
- Cathy R. Wessells & Robert J. Johnston & Holger Donath, 1999. "Assessing Consumer Preferences for Ecolabeled Seafood: The Influence of Species, Certifier, and Household Attributes," American Journal of Agricultural Economics, Agricultural and Applied Economics Association, vol. 81(5), pages 1084-1089.