PUBLICATION Journal article

Eco-certification of Farmed Seafood: Will it Make a Difference?

Eco-certification is widely considered a tool for reducing environmental impacts of aquaculture, but what are the likely environmental outcomes for the world’s fastest growing animal-food production sector? This article analyzes a number of eco-certification schemes based on species choice, anticipated share of the global seafood market, size of eligible producers, and targeted environmental impacts. The potential of eco-certification to reduce the negative environmental impacts of aquaculture at scale presently appears uncertain as: (a) certification schemes currently focus on species predominantly consumed in the EU and US, with limited coverage of Asian markets; (b) the share of certified products in the market as currently projected is too low; (c) there is an inequitable and nonuniform applicability of certification across the sector; (d) mechanisms or incentives for improvement among the worst performers are lacking; and (e) there is incomplete coverage of environmental impacts, with biophysical sustainability and ecosystem perspectives generally lacking.

Jonell, M., M. Phillips, P. Rönnbäck, and M. Troell. 2013. Eco-certification of Farmed Seafood: Will it Make a Difference?. Ambio 42(6):659-74.