Principles of area-based management and certification of aquaculture in Southeast Asia

Area-based management (AM) in aquaculture recognizes that the risk of any one farm is dependent on the quality of the wider environment within which that farm is embedded, and that the social relations that provide access to inputs, expertise and governance of common resources also extend beyond the farm.

There are limited accounts of AM in aquaculture, and while AM is emerging as a key policy approach we do not yet have a fundamental understanding of how such approaches can present a more effective means of organising aquaculture. It is unclear whether AM can address sharing environmental risks and integrate other activities in a landscape. The objective of this thesis is to investigate what constitutes AM governance arrangements in Southeast Asian aquaculture, how environmental risk is incorporated in these arrangements and how they are institutionalised in aquaculture management. The research will look at different configurations of AM in aquaculture, determine what their components are, and how they come together in the formation of environmental approaches which transcend farm-level management. This research will be carried out applying ecological modernization theory, and the analysis will be built around three key dimensions: materiality, spatiality and collaboration. Through a number of case studies in South East Asia and China AM will be studied at four levels: the aquaculture producer, hybrid governance arrangements formed at cluster level, state institutions and private institutions in the form of certification and retail-led aquaculture improvement projects.

PhD researcher Mariska Bottema blogs about her fieldwork: