Centre for the Study of the Sciences and the Humanities
Research project

Ethical Seafood? - Fisheries and Aquaculture at the Crossroads (ESea)

This projects sought to contribute to the issue of the ethical status of global fisheries and aquaculture, and thus it was based on the introductory question of how ethical our seafood is, or what it would mean to claim that it is ethical.

Stockfish hanging from lines
Matthias Kaiser

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Project summary

Conceptually it is based on the separation of the concept of ethics from the concept of sustainability, in the sense that even if all questions of sustainability could be answered satisfactorily, the question of ethics would still remain. The two concepts are construed as partially but not totally overlapping. In other words, even if, for instance, the catching of minke whales might be construed as sustainable, the ethical issues surrounding the consumption of them would still remain. It would also include the possibility that even if a production of a certain seafood, for instance tiger shrimps, could be constructed as non-sustainable in its present form, the consumption of it might still be ethical in the short term, given some further conditions.

– The projects is based on the conviction that the ethics of seafood is vitally important both for the future development of the industries, and for the long-term perspectives of consumer acceptance.

It is furthermore based on the insight that increased consumption of seafood is positively contributing to public health for large parts of the global population, and, furthermore, has the potential to counter-balance the serious negative effects for global climate change following the current increase in meat production and consumption. It may also pose a necessity in light of the expected population growth.

– The research of the project combines three strands of activities:

  • First, the culmination of previous research activities of the PI and associated researchers, dating as far back as the mid-1990’s, focusing mainly but not exclusively on aquaculture.
  • Second, the project involves the coordination and utilization of on-going research at the SVT.
  • Third, the project will work for the development of new research activities, extended network collaborations, and additional research strands from other disciplines, which can strengthen the core activity.

– Given the guiding problems of the project, the dissemination activities will be directed to a varied audience, from the general public, to the industry, NGOs and regulatory agencies, to the scientific community.

Read more about the project's background, objectives, structure, networks, funding sources and project events below.