The growth of shrimp aquaculture, in addition to population growth and higher levels of investment, has left coastal resources in the Mekong Delta increasingly vulnerable to rapid changes in land and resource use. The shrimp industry, made up of multiple stakeholders and fragmented market chains, is also now subject to a range of attempts to govern sustainable and/or responsible shrimp aquaculture. While striving for improved environmental performance to reduce bio-physical variability in production these governance systems have also brought stringent requirements for producers that determine their ability to access international markets.
The general objective of the research is to investigate the interactions between existing state and non-state actors and institutions to develop a more informed understanding of how state, market and community-based governance arrangements at different levels influence decision-making in shrimp aquaculture in coastal areas of the Mekong Delta of Vietnam. The general research question explores how different material conditions and social relations affect the effectiveness and responsiveness of governance arrangements aimed at achieving multiple goals of maintaining rural livelihoods, environmental sustainability and improved food quality.