Burning Questions
Fellowship Award Winners

Timothy Clark, Stefano Longo

Location: Canada (Clark); U.S. (Longo)
Academic field: Sociology (Clark); Sociology (Longo)
Award category: PhD Team

Guidance Memo

  • Title: “Industrial Aquaculture: History, problems, potential – Political economic review and analysis of socioecological issues in global industrial aquaculture supply chains”
  • Keywords: Aquaculture global value chains. Concerns with aquaculture.
  • DOI: 10.15868/socialsector.39078
  • What We Learned From It:
    • Most producers are located in global South countries, but rely on input (e.g. feed, pest control agents) that are often in the hands of wealthy corporations in the EU and U.S. Global supply chains are buyer-driven, with massive grocery and retail food conglomerates based in the global North being the most powerful buyers.
    • Key concerns related to feed, for example: Social concerns of worker exploitation and forced labor to capture wild fish to feed farmed fish. Marine ecological concerns as wild fish stock suffers as a result of pressures to obtain “trash fish” as aquafeed. Concerns with impacts on terrestrial environment such as cutting down forests to cultivate soybean to feed farmed fish.
    • The prevalence of pests and diseases and the heavy use of antibiotics in industrial aquaculture operations is another concern. Intensive aquaculture also raises ethical concerns with regard to the welfare of the farmed aquatic animals.
    • The “displacement paradox” and the “Jevons paradox” in industrial aquaculture.
    • The caution against the use of regulations that emphasize market mechanisms and new technologies as key solutions to industrial aquaculture with global value chains. Recommended instead is the promotion of small-scale local supply chains, the production of species that are less reliant on intensive inputs, more in-tune with their ecological surroundings, and lower on the food chain (e.g. mussels, oysters).


Some of the Things We Really Liked when We Read the Application

  • It is an excellent fit for a top-ranked “burning question” on aquaculture about global supply chains.
  • It will contain information (e.g. major seafood corporations) that are not easy to get hold of.
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