A tale of two standards: A case study of the Fair Trade certified Maluku handline caught tuna (Thunnus albacares) fishery [graduate project].
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Fishery certification programs and ecolabels have emerged as a method for promoting the sustainability of global fisheries. The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) certification program is considered the largest, most recognized seafood certification program, yet the MSC is criticized for its lack of accessibility to small-scale fisheries in developing countries. New to the seafood industry, and in part filling the accessibility gap, is Fair Trade USA’s Capture Fisheries program. This program was developed to provide the benefits of Fair Trade to small-scale fishermen and their communities and offers a mechanism to increase the prominence of certified small-scale fisheries in the developing regions of the world. Sixty percent of internationally traded seafood products originate from developing regions of the world, and thus it is imperative to gain an understanding of how to best utilize seafood certifications in developing countries to promote ecological, economic, and social sustainability. The role of Fair Trade in relation to MSC is not yet understood, and this is particularly the case in Indonesia, a nation with a Fair Trade certified tuna fishery, and one that is also working towards achieving wide-scale MSC certification across tuna fisheries. This research focused on the Fair Trade certified handline caught yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares) fishery in Maluku, Indonesia to understand the role of Fair Trade USA in relation to MSC. The relevance and appropriateness of both the Fair Trade and the MSC standards in relation to the FAO Voluntary Guidelines for Securing Sustainable Small-Scale Fisheries was assessed, and focus groups and interviews with key informants were conducted. While Fair Trade USA and MSC may remain two separate certification programs, due the inherent ‘continual improvement’ element of the Fair Trade USA Capture Fisheries Program, it can be viewed as a pathway to MSC certification.
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