Eco-labeling is a market-driven mechanism to promote sustainable fisheries. The most widely used certification scheme for seafood eco-labeling is issued by the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC), but the MSC has been criticized for favoring large-scale industrial fisheries. The benefits from eco-labeling can potentially be significant, ranging from price premiums to enriched understanding of fisheries management among fishers; however, anecdotal evidence from MSC-certified fisheries across various countries highlights the struggle of many small-scale fisheries to meet the costs of certification. The lack of environmental awareness in domestic markets can impede the spread of MSC eco-labeling among small-scale fisheries. In the absence of consumer preferences for seafood sustainability, and without subsidies, the certification may not be an appropriate tool for small-scale seafood producers. Examination of the case of an MSC-certified small-scale fishery suggests some efforts to achieve economies of scale; multi-species fisheries can apply for MSC certification as a single unit of assessment, and fisheries can cooperate with neighboring fisheries that target the same fish stock to share assessment costs. In a market where no price premium has been generated, effective face-to-face marketing is pivotal. The MSC will need to be committed to pursuing price premiums in new markets if it is to extend its reach further to small-scale fisheries.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Aquatic Science
- Environmental Science(all)
- Economics and Econometrics
- Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law