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Governing aquaculture in coastal landscapes Southeast Asia (SUPERSEAS)

GCP2 SUPERSEAS
Image: via Flickr (by: Hai Trinh)
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Project description

Coastal aquaculture in Southeast Asia affects resources and communities across coastal landscapes, but environmental management only focuses on the farm level. This project will determine how aquaculture farmers can improve their environmental and social performance by scaling up management to beyond the farm and what market and financial support they can receive for doing so.

Aim: Coastal aquaculture in Southeast Asia affects resources and communities across coastal landscapes, but environmental management only focuses on the farm level. This project will determine how aquaculture farmers can improve their environmental and social performance by scaling up management to beyond the farm and what market and financial support they can receive for doing so.

Objective: The overall objective of the project is to improve the design of area-based management (ABM) for aquaculture production in order to reduce the social and environmental risks associated with smallholder aquaculture, and improve the terms under which smallholders are incorporated in domestic, regional and international retail-led value chains. How these economic and environmental risks underlie the conditions under which smallholders, including women and other vulnerable groups can derive benefits, including livelihood and food security from participation in regional trade, is the central question leading on from this objective.

Method: This is the first time, to the consortium’s knowledge that an interdisciplinary (sociology, economics, aquaculture systems), and trans-disciplinary (certifiers, government agencies, investors and insurers) is brought together to investigate the organisational, environmental, social and economic dimensions of area based management and certification. Furthermore, comparing domestic, regional and international supermarket value chains will respond to the literature (e.g. Reardon et al 2012; Coe and Bok 2014) investigating the impact of supermarket led access and benefits to smallholder aquaculture producers in South and Southeast Asia. Finally, by integrating food security to these questions (following Reardon and Timmer 2014), new knowledge will be generated on the pathways through which producers and (poor) consumers are affected by supermarket-led area-based management and certification.

The research is structured around three PhD students working in a series of (proposed) cases in Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh. First, these countries provide a gradient of aquaculture development and smallholder engagement, from poor development in Bangladesh to high levels of development in Thailand. Second, they offer different levels of domestic, regional and export-oriented trade. And third, they combine a range of empirical conditions under which ABM and certification can be implemented, as well as the kinds of value chain governance arrangements that are most likely to support their implementation.

The research will pilot inclusive ABM business models in the three countries using an action research framework. These models will be assessed through a list of quantitative and qualitative metrics developed in collaboration with companies, certifiers, and researchers from different disciplines; including indicators of value chain performance, small-holder inclusiveness , stability of trade relationships, and environmental impact.

Metrics will also be generated for food security, as a cross-cutting theme of the project, in terms of both benefits from direct fish consumption, and indirect benefits from income derived food security. Finally, a typology of business models and agro-ecological environments will be developed, as well as finance and risk transfer designs accustomed to the ABM context. Comparison of species, countries and business-models will be compared. The result of the project will include a set of best practices for ABM and certification.

Countries: Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh.

Dutch policy goals: Inclusive business models for food security; and Regional trade for food security.

 

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