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Aquaculture Environment Interactions

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AEI 13:13-20 (2021)  -  DOI:

Ecolabels can improve public perception and farm profits for shellfish aquaculture

Matthew Gray1,*, Nicole Barbour2, Brendan Campbell1, Alexander J. Robillard2, Alana Todd-Rodriguez3, Huanhuan Xiao4, Louis Plough1

1University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Horn Point Laboratory, 2020 Horns Point Rd., Cambridge, MD 21613, USA
2University of Maryland Center for Environmental Science, Chesapeake Biological Laboratory, 146 Williams St, Solomons, MD 20688, USA
3Marine-Estuarine and Environmental Sciences, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742, USA
4Department of Biochemistry and Molecular Biology, Institute of Marine and Environmental Technology, University of Maryland School of Medicine, 701 East Pratt Street, Baltimore, MD 21202, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Ecolabels are increasingly being used to notify consumers that the labeled product imposes minimal harm to the environment or other natural resources. A growing number of studies have signaled that consumers respond to these labels, which can promote environmentally friendly production of consumable goods and incentivize growers to produce sustainably sourced goods. Shellfish are noticeably absent among these labeled products, but they are arguably the most sustainable source of animal protein. Additionally, while in the water, oysters and other shellfish provide numerous ecosystem services that improve environmental quality. We argue that shellfish aquaculture is uniquely positioned to take advantage of ecolabeling to improve public perception and steer consumers towards a highly sustainable source of animal protein. However, we also argue more research is needed to better understand how ecosystem services vary among different production modes of oyster aquaculture to ensure products are correctly labeled and inspire consumer confidence.

KEY WORDS: Ecolabel · Ecosystem services · Oyster · Shellfish · Sustainability

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Cite this article as: Gray M, Barbour N, Campbell B, Robillard AJ, Todd-Rodriguez A, Xiao H, Plough L (2021) Ecolabels can improve public perception and farm profits for shellfish aquaculture. Aquacult Environ Interact 13:13-20.

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