Aquaculture Sociology

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Consumer surveys have shown that evidence is mixed on whether people perceive aquaculture as giving rise to environmental and animal welfare problems, and it differs among countries and regions. In Europe, the focus on environmental risks associated with fish consumption is most pronounced in the northern and western countries, such as Belgium, Denmark, Finland, France, Germany, Ireland, the Netherlands, Norway, Sweden and the United Kingdom (EC, 2008). In Norway, the public was found to be especially aware of environmental topics, owing to the particular importance of the aquaculture industry to their country (Schlag and Ystgaard, 2013). Interestingly, in Germany, overfishing raises more sustainability concerns than does fish farming. Thus…show more content…
Thus different perceptions exist of the socio-economic benefits and cost of aquaculture development. Evidence from available surveys of attitudes on socio-economic concerns recommends that the strongest reception of aquaculture is generally found when local communities benefit directly from the industry (Katranidis, Nitsi and Vakrou, 2003; Whitmarsh and Palmieri, 2009; Mazur and Curtis, 2008). In developing countries, particularly, small-scale aquaculture development can add extensively to local communities as a supplier of healthy animal protein to advance the nutrition of poor people (Irz et al., 2007; Ahmed and Lorica, 2002). In addition, aquaculture growth can boost the supply of fish in local markets, thus making it more affordable (Irz et al., 2007). Similarly, in Canada and Europe, customer surveys found that farmed seafood (especially salmon) is generally seen as cheaper and available year-round, compared with wild-caught fish, enabling people to eat fish more frequently (DFO, 2005; Claret et al., 2014; Amberg and Hall, 2008; Vanhonacker, Pieniak and Verbeke, 2013). Furthermore, information from focus-group discussions in seven European countries shows that the public identity the economic benefits of fish farming, such as higher employment rates, better income and economic development in rural areas (Schlag and Ystgaard, 2013). This perception…show more content…
Knowledge about the industry has been found to vary to a large extent among regions, in relation to different aquaculture practices, socio-demographic characteristics, experiences and interests (Freeman et al., 2012; Verbeke et al., 2007a; Schlag and Ystgaard, 2013; Mazur et al., 2004; EC, 2008). As may be anticipated, higher awareness of aquaculture was recorded in areas where respondents report more contact with the industry (Mazur and Curtis, 2008; NZ, 2014) and where fish sales and consumption rates are high (EC, 2008). Nevertheless, outcomes of studies in various countries recommend that large parts of the general public may be relatively unaware in a range of aquaculture-related topics (Claret et al., 2014; Schlag and Ystgaard, 2013; Barrington et al., 2010; DFO, 2005; Pieniak, Vanhonacker and Verbeke, 2013). Moreover, exploratory revelations from focus-group discussions in Belgium and Canada indicate that aquaculture concerns are not at the top of the minds of many customers (Verbeke et al., 2007a; DFO, 2005), and the many people are not aware of the farmed or wild origin of the seafood they purchase (Vanhonacker et al., 2011; Claret et al., 2014). Regardless of this relatively low awareness of aquaculture, when confronted with the topic, consumers hold quite
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