The fair way or the Chiloé? Exploring the role of certification in the governance of labour in aquaculture in Chiloé, Chile [graduate project].
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Aquaculture has emerged as an increasingly important element of global food production systems as the total global population continues to rise, and climate change impacts yields in both agriculture and capture fisheries. However, in order for aquaculture to effectively contribute to food security in the face of these changes, it will need to be executed in a manner that is both environmentally and socially sustainable, the latter meaning that human suffering cannot underlie its expansion. Given the relative newness of the sector and the importance of social justice for its sustainability, it is critical that investigations into the social aspects of aquaculture are carried out to enrich the academic literature, before the sector becomes more established and further regulations are set in place. The existing scholarly literature indicates that governance of the sector has not adequately regulated labour practices in farms in the global South. Certification is promoted by NGOs as a regulatory measure to improve governance in aquaculture and other resource commodities, but the literature contests the extent to which certification is appropriate or effective for farms in the global South. This paper explores the extent to which certification is able to effectively govern labour practices in aquaculture production in the global south. The evolution of governance of labour in Atlantic farmed salmon production in Chiloe, Chile is used as a case study to exemplify the role of certification specifically, along with the state and NGOs, and what this has meant for labour. The analysis reveals that there are two ways in which certification fails to adequately govern labour practices in the Chiloe example. First, the environmental focus of the five most prominent transnational aquaculture certification standards has meant that the social criteria required to improve labour conditions are overwhelmingly absent. Second, though the literature points to the importance of collaboration amongst both public and private actors in order for certification to be effective as a regulatory measure, the case study of Chiloe shows that even when cooperation between these bodies occurs, the concerns of workers are still marginalized while the interests of industry are elevated.