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Privatizing Environmental Governance: A Global Analysis of the Effects and Effectiveness of Environmental Certification for Farmed Salmon and Shrimp

Project News >>

November 2010
In November, Peter Vandergeest will present research, co-authored with doctoral candidate Anusorn Unno, on global south and legitimacy of private regulation through certification at the American Anthropological Association meetings in New Orleans. It will draw on the duo's field research in Thailand.

June 2010
Paul Foley presented a paper as part of a panel titled 'Environmental Governance and Policy Issues' called ‘The Global Political Economy of Public Support for Private Regulation: The Impacts of International Eco-certification and Labeling on Canadian Fisheries Management’ at the Canadian Political Science Association (CPSA) Annual Conference in Montreal.

March 2010
Md. Saidul Islam attended the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue (ShAD) Meeting of WWF in Jakarta, Indonesia. WWF is working on a 'widely acceptable' shrimp standards through various dialogues. WWF is making these standards for its future independent certification scheme Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

Peter Vandergeest was asked to comment on a certification standards both by the WWF process as well as by the Monterey Bay Aquarium.

Md. Saidul Islam was asked to join the the Standards Oversight Committee (SOC) of Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA). This committee directs the drafting of standards by BAP technical committees and reports its recommendations to the GAA board of directors for final standards approval. With assistance from the BAP standards coordinator, the SOC also coordinates revisions and other aspects of standards development and implementation. GAA makes standards for Aquaculture Certification Council (ACC), which is an independent certification body/scheme.

Derek Hall continues his research and writing on Japanese food industry. He is currently working on a study of new food governance dynamics (especially ecolabeling and traceability) in Japan, with a focus on fisheries imports.

Fall 2009
Research Snapshot | Shrimp farmers in Thailand need to be involved in regulating their industy

In Fall 2009, Paul Foley conducted site-specific study on salmon aquaculture certification in Canada and spent almost four months on the East Coast conducting interviews as part of the PEG project. While in Atlantic Canada, he conducted about two-dozen interviews with representatives from federal and provincial governments, industry, environmental groups, scientists, certification organizations, and fishing organizations. Interviews produced information on how different stakeholders understand and shape certification. Interviews enabled Paul to gather unexpected documents and information, and to identify new contacts that help produce insight into core research questions of the PEG project, particularly how different government agencies interact with private certification systems.

October 2009
Paul Foley presented a paper called ‘The Privatization of Global Governance & New Environmental Certification in Atlantic Canada’ at the Atlantic Provinces Political Science Association (APPSA) Annual Conference, Wolfville, Nova Scotia.

September 2009 
Abstracts on the PEG team presentations at the Environmental Certification session at the September 2009 World Aquaculture Society meetings in Mexico. The team also organized the day-long session.
Peter Vandergeest | Certification and Legitimacy in Thailand
Derek Hall | Japanese Food Traceability Initiatives and their Implications for Asian Aquaculture
Md. Saidul Islam | Privatizing Regulations in the Global Agro-food System: Labour Standards and their Implication in the Era of Certification
Beatriz Cid | Traceability of Chilean Salmon Farming: What is Left Behind?

January 2009
In January, Professor Vandergeest participated in a U.S. National Academy of Science workshop that launched efforts to systematize eco labelling and certification for sustainability in the United States. 

In 2008-2009, Peter Vandergeest and Derek Hall helped organize a day-long session at the World Aquaculture Society Meetings on certification and aquaculture, where project research results so far will be presented and discussed by major participants in aquaculture and certification. Research Assistants Md. Saidul Islam and Beatriz Cid will also attend the meeting in Veracruz, Mexico in September 2009.

Professor Vandergeest is working with Anusorn Unno (Doctoral Candidate, University of Washington) to conduct research on the question of how international certification is understood and evaluated by key groups (farmers, government, processors, NGOs, workers) in Thailand. Vandergeest also participated in a U.S. National Academies workshop on ‘Certification of Sustainable Goods and Services’.  The workshop engaged leaders from industry, government, and academia to assess whether and how certification might contribute to sustainability, and to provide advice to the academies regarding a relevant research program. 

Derek Hall spent five weeks in Tokyo in November and December 2008 researching food safety and environmental certification initiatives in Japan, with a focus on imported seafood. Md. Saidul Islam completed his dissertation in June 2008 and will take a position at Nanyang University, Singapore. Beatriz Cid has finished her fieldwork and anticipates completing her dissertation during 2009. Paul Foley (Doctoral Candidate, Political Science, York University), whose research is related to the project, is preparing to do fieldwork on salmon and certification on the Canadian east coast.

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