However, the rapid growth in the industry has resulted in a wide range of negative environmental and social impacts. These range from water pollution and the disruption of local ecosystems, to poor working conditions. These impacts, in turn, have sparked the creation of many different initiatives, with the aim of making aquaculture production more responsible. While sharing an ultimate goal of improving aquaculture practices, these various programmes’ differing scope and reach mean there is currently a lack of integration between them. Improving this integration could reduce costs for producers, and remove confusion among buyers, governments, producers, and consumers—the groups whose participation and support are crucial to achieving the goal of a more sustainable aquaculture industry.
The various sustainability initiatives that exist work at different scales, from individual farms all the way up to the landscape level, and they deploy a variety of approaches to assess and verify the way that seafood is being farmed. As a result, the people who produce, sell, and buy seafood are left to make sense of these varied requirements — a situation that limits the sectors ability to make collective improvements.