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A comparison of sustainability objectives: how well does the Canadian Fisheries Research Network framework compare with fisheries, forestry, and aquaculture certification schemes?

Claire Mussells, Canadian Fisheries Research Network, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St Andrews Biological Station, St Andrews, New Brunswick; Faculty of Forestry and Environmental Management, University of New Brunswick
Robert L. Stephenson, Canadian Fisheries Research Network, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, St Andrews Biological Station, St Andrews, New Brunswick; Canadian Fisheries Research Network, Department of Biology, University of New Brunswick


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It is increasingly recognized that fisheries management should take a more holistic approach toward full spectrum sustainability that includes ecological, social, and economic considerations. The Canadian Fisheries Research Network (CFRN) has developed an evaluation framework for comprehensive fisheries management, derived from Canadian policy and international commitments. In the changing landscape of resource management, third party market certification has grown where there are perceived management gaps and increasingly exerts pressure on management considerations. Increasingly, there is a need to integrate coastal management and to consider consistent management objectives across sectors. In this study, the CFRN framework is used as a lens with which to compare certification schemes (fisheries, aquaculture, and forestry) of relevance to activities in southwest New Brunswick. This analysis reveals (1) that the three certification schemes differ in the scope of their objectives; (2) that a number of CFRN framework elements are not addressed in the certification schemes; and (3) that the certification scheme that most closely matches the CFRN framework is from the forestry sector and that the Marine Stewardship Council certifications scheme for fisheries is most different from the CFRN because it lacks consideration of social and economic aspects. We are thus challenged to consider why fisheries management and certification continue to fall behind in the consideration of a broad spectrum of management objectives and we are provided with an opportunity to learn from the strengths of other sectors.

Key words

ecosystem-based management; management objectives; social-ecological systems; sustainable development; third party market certification

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Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087