Social sustainability of cod and haddock fisheries in the northeast Atlantic: what issues are important?

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Abstract

Research on the sustainability of capture fisheries has focused more on environmental and economic sustainability than on social sustainability. To assess social sustainability, first relevant and important social sustainability issues need to be identified. The objective of this study was to identify relevant social sustainability issues for cod and haddock fisheries in the northeast Atlantic and to determine the importance of these issues based on stakeholder input. A heterogeneous group of stakeholders was invited to take part in two consecutive surveys on social sustainability issues. The first survey (n=41) resulted in a long list of 27 relevant social sustainability issues, including six issues that were not identified in previous studies and that address aspects of fish welfare, employees' training and education opportunities, and employees' time off from work. The second survey (n=51) resulted in a ranking of the social sustainability issues in order of importance. The most important issues are worker safety, product freshness and companies' salary levels. In general, social sustainability issues concerning working conditions, employees' job fulfilment and fish welfare are seen as more important than other social sustainability issues. A main discussion point concerns the relation between the importance of a social sustainability issue on the one hand and the type of need that the issue relates to and the state of the issue on the other hand. From the study it can be concluded that the relative importance of social sustainability issues differs per stakeholder group depending on the relation between the stakeholder group and each particular issue. This demonstrates the importance of consulting different stakeholder groups in future studies on social sustainability in order to get a balanced view on the importance of social sustainability issues. Results on the relevance and importance of social sustainability issues for cod and haddock fisheries in the northeast Atlantic enable the fishing industry and policy-makers to direct improvement efforts towards the more important issues. ©
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)76-85
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Volume94
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2015

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Keywords

  • life-cycle assessment
  • environmental impacts
  • production systems
  • fish
  • categories
  • indicators
  • products
  • welfare
  • stress
  • salmon

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