Market-based governance in aquaculture. Exploring the viability of eco-certification schemes in the case of small-scale Black Tiger shrimp farmers in Bangladesh

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The aim of this master thesis is to analyze the power relations of NGOs and retailers in the EU behind the demand for eco-certification schemes in aquaculture and to show the viability of eco-certification schemes (especially ASC and Naturland) and some alternative strategies (group certification, cooperatives, government regulation, area-based management and technology) for small-scale farmers in order to regulate sustainability and maintain market access to retailers in the EU. A qualitative case study of small-scale Black Tiger shrimp farmers in Bangladesh is used as a method for this study. Data for this study were collected with the help of semi-structured interviews with fourteen respondents, complemented with four questionnaires among small-scale Black Tiger shrimp farmers in Bangladesh. In conclusion, the thesis argues that NGOs such as WWF are pushing retailers in the EU to buy eco-certified seafood products. However, this could lead to the exclusion of small-scale shrimp farmers in Bangladesh to gain market access in the EU as they are often unable to meet the requirements of eco-certification schemes. Alternative options like cooperatives and access to technology have to be better investigated in order to allow small-scale farmers to maintain access to the EU market.
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