Mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption of Seafood Through Enhanced Mandatory Food Labeling
To contribute to the debate about sustainable seafood consumption, this article considers the role of mandatory food labeling. The article first flags the rise of a policy paradigm of shared responsibility and policy imperatives at various levels calling for increased integration of the citizen/consumer into public regimes, including in fisheries governance. It then explores the options available to citizen/consumers to engage in the fisheries regime in different stages of the value chain and evaluates their readiness to respond to the expectations. Mandatory food labeling of seafood is introduced as an under-unexplored governance tool, alongside the key enabling technological and policy trends. The rise of transparency and traceability, both as norms and a set of technological capabilities, is highlighted as an opportunity for implementation of mandatory seafood labeling. While recognizing equity challenges and various supplementary actions needed to ensure an effective behavioral and attitudinal shift toward more engaged governance (better education and enforcement and an enabling social setting), the article suggests to further explore mandatory labeling within the governance toolbox. It should be particularly relevant in the context of developed markets with global trade and political influence, and as means of fostering ocean literacy and transparent, participative and deliberative kind of governance.