The Emergence and Effects of the Certification of Forests and Fisheries
Chapter 7: The Adoption and Impact of Fisheries Certification
In 2009, MSC celebrated its first ten years as an independent and operational certification program. Given the experience of a decade of operations, it is interesting to undertake a critical examination of MSC’s achievements and effectiveness in delivering on its promises to reverse the decline of fish stocks and enhance marine conservation. This chapter examines the effectiveness of MSC by looking at producer adoption of the program, patterns of adoption, the effects of the certification process, and criticisms of and challenges for the program. As in Chapter 4, particular attention is paid to the question of how patterns of adoption influence the effectiveness of the program, and a distinction is made between the direct effects of a certification scheme and the broader consequences that flow from the emergence of that scheme. Using a narrow definition of effectiveness, fisheries certification would be judged effective if it contributed directly to the resolution of the problems it was created to address (overfishing, environmental harm resulting from fishing). Yet a broad conception of effectiveness would consider not only direct effects, but also environmental, social and economic effects that were not necessarily intended or anticipated. This chapter examines both narrow, problem-solving effectiveness and the broader consequences of fisheries certification. The chapter begins with an examination of patterns of producer adoption of the certification program. The second section seeks to explain patterns of adoption, paying particular attention to the types of fisheries that participate in the program and the extent of participation in developing countries. In...
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