ZEF Public Lecture: Can certification schemes alone achieve sea-“food security”?

July 4, 2022 | 14:00 h - 15:00 h

Can certification schemes alone achieve sea-“food security”?

We are happy to discuss this question with Prof. Dr. Hiroe Ishihara, (Graduate School for Frontier Sciences, University of Tokyo) with her perspective on the Japanese seafood market.

You are warmly invited to this in-person- public lecture

on Monday, 4th of July 2022 at 2 p.m. (CEST) at ZEF in room 3.032


Please register here for the lecture:




There are growing concerns over global food security. Seafood is no exception. Global seafood consumption is on an unsustainable track as it has increased by 22% from 1990 to 2018, while 34% of fish stock faces over-exploitation according to FAO’s State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA) report. Identifying a way to achieve sustainability in seafood and ensure its food security is critical, especially since seafood accounted for about 17% of total animal protein, and 7 % of all proteins, consumed globally.

There are multiple ways to promote sustainable consumption of seafood, one is the market-based approach, such as certification schemes. According to the neoliberal economic theory, the certification schemes can create a win-win situation for both consumers and producers. The certification schemes enable the consumers to ethically consume seafood while providing monetary incentives for the producers to conduct environmentally friendly fisheries or aquaculture through the price premium paid by the consumers. However, the reality of the certification schemes is very different from what the theory suggests.

This lecture focuses on the Japanese seafood market, one of the largest in the world with a very long supply chain. By utilizing the result from the semi-structured interviews of the Marine Stewardship Council and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council certified producers, it argues that to achieve sustainable seafood consumption in Japan, an alternative pathway, such as a relational supply chain is established, is necessary.

Hiroe Ishihara

Prof. Dr. Hiroe Ishihara, an associate professor at the Graduate School of Frontier Sciences

(University of Tokyo) and current Pew Marine Fellow, has been researching various topics, including common pool resource management and market-based approaches like Payment for Ecosystem Services and certification schemes. She is currently involved in Values Assessment Report published by the Intergovernmental Science-Policy Platform on Biodiversity and Ecosystem Services (IPBES) and Grenada National Ecosystem Assessment (Grenada NEA). She obtained a Ph.D. degree in 2016 from the Department of Land Economy, the University of Cambridge.


Silke Tönsjost

Dr. Silke Tönsjost