Is certification a viable option for small producer fish farmers in the global south? Insights from Vietnam
Aquaculture is the fastest growing global food system, providing nearly half of the world׳s seafood supply. A significant portion of aquaculture is produced in the global South and consumed in the North, with much of the production stemming from small producers in Asian countries. The rapid growth in this sector has led to a host of social, environmental and governance concerns, with certification emerging as one market governance response. This paper assesses the potential of certification for small producer shrimp farmers in Vietnam, examining the ways in which three standards operating in Vietnam focus on social, environmental, economic, and management dimensions of sustainability. Research findings suggest that aquaculture standards are not appropriate for small producers since much of the current criteria are not viable at this scale. A separate national standard customized specifically for small producers in Vietnam׳s aquaculture sector may be necessary. A set of guidelines is proposed as a starting point for discussions regarding small producer certification.