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Understanding sustainable seafood consumption behavior: an examination of the Ocean Wise (OW) initiative in British Columbia

Katherine M. Dolmage, Coastal and Marine Management, University Centre of the Westfjords
Victoria Macfarlane, Global Studies, Vancouver Island University (VIU); Director of Belize Institute for Local Development (BILD)
Jamie Alley, Coastal and Marine Management, University Centre of the Westfjords; Department of Geography, University of Victoria


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Sustainable seafood labeling programs have been developed as one of several efforts to address the current dire trends in fish stocks. The Ocean Wise (OW) program, started at the Vancouver Aquarium (Canada), works with restaurateurs and suppliers to simplify sustainable purchasing decisions. By aiding restaurateurs with responsible purchasing, OW hopes to shift demand to sustainable seafood products. OW has grown in numbers and spread across Canada quickly; we examine the factors associated with individual and organizational decisions to participate in the program, including personal, business, and program-related factors. These factors were examined in relation to OW membership by Vancouver restaurateurs. Results show that restaurateurs with greater knowledge of seafood issues and restaurants with greater commitment to a range of green initiatives are more likely to participate in the OW program. By focusing efforts on education and incorporating a range of green values into marketing, OW can maximize their limited resources to grow membership.

Key words

BC; British Columbia; consumer behavior; Ocean Wise; OW; restaurant; seafood; sustainability

Copyright © 2016 by the author(s). Published here under license by The Resilience Alliance. This article is under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License. You may share and adapt the work for noncommercial purposes provided the original author and source are credited, you indicate whether any changes were made, and you include a link to the license.

Ecology and Society. ISSN: 1708-3087