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MEPS prepress abstract   -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps00388

Ecolabels can improve public perception and farm profits for shellfish aquaculture

Matthew Gray*, Nicole Barbour, Brendan Campbell, Alexander J. Robillard, Alana Todd-Rodriguez, Huanhuan Xiao, Louis Plough

*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: ABSTRACT: Ecolabels are increasingly used to notify consumers that the labeled product imposes minimal harm to the environment or other natural resources. A growing number of studies signal 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.