Krause, G., Buck, B.H. and Breckwoldt, Annette ORCID: (2019) Socio-economic aspects of marine bivalve production. In: Goods and Services of Marine Bivalves. , ed. by Smaal, A.C., Ferreira, J.G., Grant, J., Petersen, J.K. and Strand, Ø.. Springer, Cham, pp. 317-334. ISBN 978-3-319-96775-2 DOI

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This paper provides an overview of a number of socio-economic aspects related to bivalve aquaculture focussing on cultural services these activities provide to the culturing communities. Some direct socio-economic benefits of aquaculture in general exist through its supply of highly nutritious foods and other commercially valuable products. Additionally, it provides a variety of jobs and creates a set of income options. Yet, the question arises how to capture these in a coherent manner - what data is available and applicable to assess sustainable aquaculture in an inclusive way?

Starting with some general information on marine bivalve aquaculture development and the local contexts of the producing (usually coastal) communities, the paper discusses what it takes to generate meaningful information needed for decision-making and governance of the sector. To date, such decisions about marine aquaculture development are still (too) often based on incomplete and short-termed information, particularly in relation to socio-economic dimensions. Consequently, inadequate accounts of how trade-offs are associated with different development options are made. Aquaculture expansion may come at the expense of increased and possibly unsustainable pressure on ecosystem goods and services, ultimately jeopardizing people’s food security, health and livelihoods. Its development may therefore generate negative impacts on other industries and people’s livelihoods, e.g. fisheries, agriculture, shipping, and tourism. Additionally, in some cases, benefits derived from aquaculture systems are moving away from the local communities directly affected by aquaculture to stakeholders operating at a global market level. These considerations are discussed in this paper. Central focus is placed here on the question of how a more direct way of cultural inclusion of the local (mostly coastal) communities directly involved and dependent on marine bivalve aquaculture could occur.

Exemplified by case-studies, the paper will look at the culturing communities themselves, their everyday challenges, socio-economic controversies and benefits but also conflicts related to e.g. management and certification schemes. Our focus hereby is exclusively on cultured bivalves, not on the many and complex systems around the world where wild bivalves are harvested. Marine bivalves can represent important opportunities for economic activity and social cohesion in coastal rural areas, providing many jobs in those areas that are often otherwise economically depressed. Provided for a good governance set-up, the culturing community thereby contributes to the wellbeing of all its members – which in turn is defined as the willingness of members of a society to cooperate with each other in order to survive and prosper.

Due to its ocean-bound nature, marine bivalve aquaculture could also provide an occupational alternative for displaced fishermen. Its development can preserve the character and ambience of seaside fishing communities, utilize the local acquired knowledge and skills of the coastal folk, and allow the local denizens to remain economically and culturally tied to the marine environment. The consideration on the socio-economics of culturing communities should, however, neither stop at the local level, nor at the border of each country. On a national level, main considerations must stress small-scale units which, due to their size, pose fewer management problems and function with more flexibility. These projects must have a privileged status on domestic markets particularly in developing countries. From then onwards, they hold the potential, via well-developed and sustainable markets and trade pathways, also to extrapolate internationally.

Document Type: Book chapter
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Social Sciences > Social-Ecological Systems Analysis
Affiliations > Not ZMT
DOI etc.:
Date Deposited: 01 Jul 2019 09:37
Last Modified: 06 Oct 2022 14:57

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