Report Examines Voluntary Welfare Certifications for Farmed Fish in China and Thailand

A new report examines the “determinants considered by exporting farmers in China and Thailand when adopting international voluntary certification schemes for farmed fish and shrimp.” The report finds that, in 2015, “less than 6% of global production that was compliant with major international or Chinese [certification schemes] came from China or Thailand.” These lower rates may be explained by misaligned incentives: “For large-scale farmers, national, rather than international, certification schemes may offer cheaper ways to gain the same benefits” while “[f]or small-scale farmers, costs tend to outweigh the benefits and poor business and technical infrastructure make certification less feasible.” The report recommends that advocates “consider strategies to more strongly incentivize higher standards for the world's lowest-welfare fish and shrimp farming practices.” The report was authored by Jojo Lee, a research fellow at Rethink Priorities.