Public vs. Private Governance in the Norwegian Aquaculture: Can the ASC Supplement or Supplant the Public Regulations?
It is predicted that by the year 2050, the world population will reach 9.8 billion (UN, 2017). The need for fish as a good source of nutrition is also increasing. Total global aquaculture production is now exceeding the global capture fisheries production by over 18.32 million tons (FAO,2019). This increasing demand for aquatic animals as human food, limited marine captured fisheries, and the continuous development of biological knowledge altogether bring the opportunity to farm domesticate finfish species (Harache,2002). The range of species that the global aquaculture industry produces is diverse, and It ranges from unicellular Chlorella algae produced with the help of indoor bioreactors to the production of carnivorous Atlantic salmon in outdoor floating net cages (FAO 2019). As aquaculture is growing, various environmental, economic, and social concerns have been arising. These concerns include pollution, feeding practices, disease management and antibiotic use, habitat use, non-native species, food safety, fraud, animal welfare, impacts on traditional wild fisheries, access to water and space, market competition, and genetics (Anderson et al., 2019). Addressing these concerns requires proper management systems in place. The early development of the Norwegian aquaculture industry started in the 1970s and continued to grow so swiftly that aquatic animals' export value exceeded 65 billion NOK by 2016 (Norwegian Seafood Council, 2017). The industry now has been operating with the vision of representing a five-fold increment of the total production volume (5 million tons) by the year 2050 (Furuset, 2017, Olafsen et al., 2012, NSC, 2017). The Norwegian aquaculture industry is providing significant social and economic benefits to the nation. However, unlike the global aquaculture scenario, there are concerns about its wide-ranging impacts on the environment and ecology. Genetic disturbance and diseases that can be transferred to the wild stocks by the escaped farmed fish or the ingestion of contaminated wastage are some examples that can have negative impacts on the ecosystem (Fernandes and Read, 2001). Although the industry is compatible with handling most of the fish diseases and emissions, controlling some other factors like salmon lice and its impact on wild stocks, escapes, or fish mortality are still challenging. (Nofima, SINTEF Ocean and BarentsWatch, 2020). Although environmental issues are dominant, there are social and economic concerns increasing too. Conflict among different users for the same space, risk related to the workplace are some of the social challenges that the industry has been facing. However, the social benefits being driven by the industry by creating job opportunities or paying taxes are, to an extent, offsetting negative social and economic impacts (Nofima, SINTEF Ocean and BarentsWatch, 2020). To pave a sustainable way to reach the 2050 goal, a practical and suitable governance system must be exercised. Now, governance is not as simple as it sounds as it does not deal only with those things that governors do; rather, it represents the interactions between the governing bodies and those to be governed and thus, governance can be defined as an interaction itself (Kooiman, 2003). Governance can either be public or be private (Kooiman, 2003). Due to the increasing criticisms raised by science and NGOs against public governance for putting less effort than required, private governance (like the ASC or the MSC) is becoming increasingly influential in setting up and governing sustainable practices (Foley 2012). However, international certification schemes are not free from criticisms for being too generic and considering necessary local conditions as required. The Norwegian aquaculture industry has been governed by a combination of various acts and management systems. Among others, the Traffic Light System (TLS) is the newly introduced technology that came into effect on the 30th of October 2017 and is dedicated to aquaculture and regulates the production capacity of the Atlantic Salmon (Michaelsen, 2019). The system's three core aspects are the production zoning, environmental indicator (salmon lice), and the adjustment of production zones' production capacity based on action rule with threshold values (Michaelsen, 2019). On the other hand, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), established in 2010 as a third-party independent certification scheme, is also working as a private governing body in the industry (The ASC, 2019). With eight principles and more than 150 indicators, this hybrid governance is, in some cases, challenging the public governmental policies (Vince, 2017). Although the Norwegian public governance and ASC have similarities and dissimilarities and are working in the same industry together, the necessity to compare, coordinate, and improve the interplay between them is not sufficiently explored.
PublisherUiT The Arctic University of Norway
UiT Norges arktiske universitet
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Copyright 2020 The Author(s)
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