Fair Trade Fish: A Tool to Protect Culture and Promote Responsible Fisheries Management
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The fishing industry has played and continues to play an important role within Aboriginal culture and the larger Canadian demographic. Due to decades of habitat loss and poor fisheries management, many wild keystone fish species have been decimated to near extinction. Overexploitation of fishery stocks continues to be a serious problem that is felt locally and globally, resulting in a need to reevaluate how the resource should be effectively managed. Sustainable seafood campaigns and ecolabels have been developed in recent years to help alleviate some of this pressure through social marketing campaigns that target consumer purchasing power. There are a number of organizations, including Marine Stewardship Council, SeaChoice, Ocean Wise and others, who have created labels that notify the consumer of the sustainability associated with that product. However, there may still be a need to create a new innovative certification system that incorporates a social and Aboriginal component, which is able to learn from the mistakes of past organizations while implementing traditional knowledge systems within its fundamental principles. This could be accomplished through a certification program like Fair Trade Fish, with the main objective being to protect traditional livelihoods while also promoting conservation and sustainability of valuable fishery resources. Thus, creating a certification program where consumers can feel confident that they are supporting not only an environmentally responsible product but also a socially responsible one.