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Evolving perspectives of stewardship in the seafood industry


Blasiak, R and Dauriach, A and Jouffray, J-B and Folke, C and Osterblom, H and Bebbington, J and Bengtsson, F and Causevic, A and Geerts, B and Gronbrekk, W and Henriksson, PJG and Kall, S and Leadbitter, D and McBain, D and Crespo, GO and Packer, H and Sakaguchi, I and Schultz, L and Selig, ER and Troell, M and Villalon, J and Wabnitz, CCC and Wassenius, E and Watson, RA and Yagi, N and Crona, B, Evolving perspectives of stewardship in the seafood industry, Frontiers in Marine Science, 8 Article 671837. ISSN 2296-7745 (2021) [Refereed Article]

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Copyright Statement

Copyright © 2021 Blasiak, Dauriach, Jouffray, Folke, Österblom, Bebbington, Bengtsson, Causevic, Geerts, Grřnbrekk, Henriksson, Käll, Leadbitter, McBain, Crespo, Packer, Sakaguchi, Schultz, Selig, Troell, Villalón, Wabnitz, Wassénius, Watson, Yagi and Crona. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) License (

DOI: doi:10.3389/fmars.2021.671837


Humanity has never benefited more from the ocean as a source of food, livelihoods, and well-being, yet on a global scale this has been accompanied by trajectories of degradation and persistent inequity. Awareness of this has spurred policymakers to develop an expanding network of ocean governance instruments, catalyzed civil society pressure on the public and private sector, and motivated engagement by the general public as consumers and constituents. Among local communities, diverse examples of stewardship have rested on the foundation of care, knowledge and agency. But does an analog for stewardship exist in the context of globally active multinational corporations? Here, we consider the seafood industry and its efforts to navigate this new reality through private governance. We examine paradigmatic events in the history of the sustainable seafood movement, from seafood boycotts in the 1970s through to the emergence of certification measures, benchmarks, and diverse voluntary environmental programs. We note four dimensions of stewardship in which efforts by actors within the seafood industry have aligned with theoretical concepts of stewardship, which we describe as (1) moving beyond compliance, (2) taking a systems perspective, (3) living with uncertainty, and (4) understanding humans as embedded elements of the biosphere. In conclusion, we identify emerging stewardship challenges for the seafood industry and suggest the urgent need to embrace a broader notion of ocean stewardship that extends beyond seafood.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:global stewardship, seafood, industry, management, private governance, corporate biosphere stewardship, voluntary environmental programs, seafood boycotts, Marine Stewardship Council, keystone actors, ocean governance, systems perspective
Research Division:Agricultural, Veterinary and Food Sciences
Research Group:Fisheries sciences
Research Field:Fisheries management
Objective Division:Animal Production and Animal Primary Products
Objective Group:Fisheries - wild caught
Objective Field:Wild caught fin fish (excl. tuna)
UTAS Author:Watson, RA (Professor Reginald Watson)
ID Code:145091
Year Published:2021
Web of Science® Times Cited:10
Deposited By:Fisheries and Aquaculture
Deposited On:2021-06-30
Last Modified:2021-11-08
Downloads:9 View Download Statistics

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