Level up or game over: the implications of levels of impact in certification schemes for salmon aquaculture

Studio Apertura

​​Certification schemes are becoming increasingly important within aquaculture management, but the indicators that are used by these schemes are subject to considerable debate. Many have questioned their actual impact on improving the industry, and whether they effectively address the many externalities of aquaculture production. In this paper, we study the choice of indicators in eight major certification scheme standards for salmon aquaculture and examine to what degree they manage to address impacts beyond individual production sites. We find that, in accordance with the criticism, the majority of indicators pertain only to the site-level.

However, indicators related to traceability, and to coordination and sharing of information among producers can elevate local concerns to a higher level of impact. We, therefore, argue that among all the certification scheme standards considered here, these types of indicators should be emphasized to a larger extent.​