Awareness and labeling initiatives can benefit inland fisheries

Sustainable seafood initiatives, including certification and ecolabeling and awareness schemes, could be extended to more effectively cover inland, freshwater fisheries, according to researchers writing in the November issue of BioScience.

The world's growing dependence on fish protein and the imperiled state of many freshwater fisheries argues for such efforts, the authors conclude, although because freshwater fisheries tend to be smaller and are more concentrated in developing countries than marine and coastal fisheries, the efforts would have to be modified substantially to target the different consumers.

The article's authors, Steven Cooke of Carleton University and two colleagues, initially set out to assess the scientific literature on ecolabeling and awareness schemes as they related to freshwater species, but soon determined there were very few such studies.

Although freshwater species and those (such as salmon) that live in freshwater during part of their life cycle are included in lists intended for guide consumers on sustainable diet choices, they constitute a small minority, according to a survey of 10 certification and labeling schemes. This imbalance could lead to a public misperception that freshwater species are generally less at risk than marine species, Cooke and his colleagues argue.

Grassroots schemes, rather than multimedia marketing-oriented certification schemes, are the most promising approach to increasing awareness of the threats to freshwater species and what choices consumers can make to reduce these, the authors say, because many freshwater fisheries are artisanal.

BioScience, published monthly, is the journal of the American Institute of Biological Sciences (AIBS). BioScience publishes commentary and peer-reviewed articles covering a wide range of biological fields, with a focus on “Organisms from Molecules to the Environment.” The journal has been published since 1964. AIBS is an umbrella organization for professional scientific societies and organizations that are involved with biology. It represents nearly 160 member societies and organizations.

The complete list of peer-reviewed articles in the November 2011 issue of BioScience is as follows:

Comparative Phylogeography: Designing Studies while Surviving the Process.
Tania A. Gutiérrez-García and Ella Vázquez-Domínguez
The Influence of Plant Root Systems on Subsurface Flow: Implications for Slope Stability.

Murielle Ghestem, Roy C. Sidle, and Alexia Stokes

Geographic Limitations and Regional Differences in Ships' Ballast Water Management to Reduce Marine Invasions in the Contiguous United States.

Whitman Miller, Mark S. Minton, and Gregory M. Ruiz

The Chemical Ecology of Sponges on Caribbean Reefs: Natural Products Shape Natural Systems.

Joseph R. Pawlik

Collaboration and Productivity in Scientific Synthesis.
Stephanie E. Hampton and John N. Parker
Sustainable “Seafood” Ecolabeling and Awareness Initiatives in the Context of Inland Fisheries: Increasing Food Security and Protecting Ecosystems.

Steven J. Cooke, Karen J. Murchie, and Andy J. Danylchuk

Emptying the Forest: Hunting and the Extirpation of Wildlife from Tropical Nature Reserves.

Rhett D. Harrison

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