Certifying farmed seafood – a drop in the ocean or a ‘stepping-stone’ towards increased sustainability?


The sustainable seafood movement has gained increased momentum during recent years and while most eco-labelled seafood originates from capture fisheries, the fastest growth of seafood eco-certification can be observed in the aquaculture sector. The extent to which certification have overall positive environmental impacts however remains uncertain. This chapter provides an overview of the existing literature on aquaculture eco-certification and the current knowledge on environmental and social short term effects and long term impacts. Key limitations and challenges are outlined as well as the potential of certification to play a larger role in the endeavour towards more sustainable aquaculture.

Five prerequisites for certification to deliver significant positive environmental impacts are outlined: (i) increased global coverage, both in terms of species and systems certified and markets targeted for certification, (ii) inclusion of small-scale producers and less well performing producers with respect to environmental impact, (iii) mechanisms implemented to ensure a continuous improvement of certification standards, (iv) additionality to conventional state-led regulation and, (v) capacity to support production systems characterized by strong sustainability.


Link to centre authors: Jonell, Malin, Troell, Max
Publication info: Jonell, M., Tlusty, M., Troell, M., Rönnbäck, P., 2019 Certifying farmed seafood – a drop in the ocean or a ‘stepping-stone’ towards increased sustainability? In Sustainability Certification Schemes in the Agricultural and Natural Resources Sectors: Outcomes for society and the environment, Ed. Vogt, M., 323 pp. Oxon: Routledge