Sustainable Seafood

Investigating the value of labelling schemes to small-scale fish and shellfish businesses
Local fisheries and shellfisheries play an important role in the future of sustainable food production, and are an intrinsic part of the economy and landscape in the South West. This project will look at whether food labelling schemes might be of benefit to this type of business.

Seafood eco-labels have been developed to highlight to consumers whether the fish and shellfish they are choosing has been harvested in a sustainable way. Their aim is to tackle overfishing and damaging fishing practices by increasing demand for more sustainable products and thus translating sustainable practices into market advantage. However, it is very expensive for small-scale fishing businesses to join the large eco-labelling schemes that are recognisable on fish and shellfish sold in supermarkets.

We need to understand more about the benefits to fishing businesses of being involved in these local labelling schemes in order to have the evidence to scale up to a national ‘low impact fisheries’ labelling scheme. This project aims to investigate the impacts of the Cornwall Good Seafood Guide labelling scheme developed by the Cornwall Wildlife Trust.

More specifically the project research aims to answer the following questions:

  1. What are the main benefits to fishermen and businesses from participating in local eco-labelling schemes? What is their motivation for participating?
  2. Does eco-labelled seafood command a price premium? To whom do any financial benefits accrue?
  3. What obstacles are there to participating in eco-labelling schemes? What are the preconceptions of those who are not members of existing schemes?
  4. What is the level of awareness of eco-labelling schemes amongst the general public? How does their perception of such schemes affect their purchasing habits? Are they willing to pay a premium for labelled seafood?

Results of this work will inform the feasibility proposals for a national ‘low impact fisheries’ brand.

Professor Martin Attrill
SWEEP Marine Co-Lead

Martin is a Marine Ecologist interested in the links between marine biodiversity, ecosystem services and human activity. Within SWEEP, he coordinates the University of Plymouth input, as well as being actively involved in projects associated with Marine Ecosystem Services, particularly Marine Protected Areas.

Andrew Edwards-Jones
Dr Tara Hooper
SWEEP Project Principal Investigator
Dr Océane Marcone
SWEEP Impact Fellow
Dr Sian Rees
SWEEP Co-Investigator and Senior Impact Fellow

Siân is a Senior Research Fellow based at the University of Plymouth’s Marine Institute who brings over 14 years of experience in marine conservation, marine management and policy to the SWEEP team. Siân has a strong track record in utilising social science research methods to inform ecosystem-based management and the implementation of Natural Capital approaches. Siân has worked in an advisory capacity for UK Government, the European Commission and the Secretariat for the Convention on Biological Diversity.

Funded by: