Social conventions and certification of fishery products

  • Fernando González Laxe Catedrático de Economía Aplicada y Director del Instituto de Estudios Marítimos. Facultad de Economía y Empresa. Universidade da Coruña (España)
Keywords: Fisherman’s behavior, social convention, fishery management, certified products, and behavior rules


Fishermen’s logic is related to three aspects: profit maximization; abundance and stock situation; and social and economic expectations. They think in terms of “ideal behaviors” and, based on that, they act according to their abilities mostly with an individual rather than a collective attitude. However, when problems in fishery management stem from the analysis of resources and the configuration of markets, fishermen resort to social conventions to give coherence to their actions and emphasize agents’ coordination. Methodologically speaking, the paper analyzes the social conventions that maintain a stable regularity in fisherman behavior and that allow establishing a recurrent behavior in terms of social interactions. The purpose of the article is to collect those practices, habits, common interests, and norms that define behavior rules. Six types of social conventions are highlighted here: a) organizational (which reflect voluntary attitudes); b) representative (used as negotiation instruments); c) reclaiming (make demands when there are problems); d) commercial (reinforce differential advantages); e) certification processes (underline competitive advantage and entry barriers); and f) social conventions to defend sustainability and common goods (more emphasis on presentation rather than production). Finally, it should be noted that certified products have become political and trade negotiation tools.


Download data is not yet available.


Berkes, F. & Nayak, P. K. (2018). Role of communities in fisheries management: “one would first need to imagine it”. Maritime Studies, 17, 241-251.
Bessy, C. (2006). La place de l´intersubjectivité et du commun dans l´économie des conventions. En F. Eymard-Duverbay (dir.). L´économie des conventions, Tome I. Débats. Francia. La Découverte.
Boltanski, L. & Thevenot, L. (1991). De la justification. Les économies de la grandeur. Francia. Ed. Gallimard.
Boyer, R., Orléan, A. (2004). Persistence et changement des conventions. Deux modèles simples et quelques illustrations. En A. Orléan (dir.), Analyse économique des conventions (pp. 243-271) Francia. Presses Universitaires de France.
Christian, L., Ainley, D., Baileye, M., Dayton, P., Holevar, J., Levinef, M., … & Jacquet, J. (2013). A review of formal objections to MSC Fisheries Certification. Biol. Conserv., 161, 10-17.
Cole, H. (2003). Contemporary challenges: globalisation, global interconnectedness and that are not plenty more fish in the sea. Fisheries, governance and globalisation: is there a relationship. Ocean Coastal Manag., 46(1-2), 77-102.
Espinosa, A. & Sánchez, J. L. (2013). El mercado español del bacalao en salazón: una aproximación regional desde la geografía de las convenciones. Estudios Geográficos, 74(275), 439-467.
FAO. (2009). Directrices para el etiquetado de pescado y productos pesqueros de la pesca de captura marina. Roma. FAO.
Fonte, M. (2002). Food Systems consumptions models and risk perceptions in late moderning. Int. J. Sociol. Agric. Food, 10(1), 13-21.
Fonte, M., Acampora, T. & Sacco, V. (2006). Desarrollo rural e identidad cultural: reflexiones teóricas y casos empíricos. Chile. Centro Latinoamericano para el Desarrollo Rural.
González-Laxe, F. (2015). Cuestiones biológicas y económicas para explicar ciertas incongruencias de la política pesquera de la Unión Europea. CICIMAR-Oceánides, 30(2), 13-25.
González-Laxe, F. (2019a). Pescadores migrantes: análisis de su dinámica e inclusión social. Rev. Est. Econ. Apl., 37(3). 18-30.
González-Laxe, F. (2019b). Análisis de las controversias respecto al etiquetado. En G. Ponce & F. González-Laxe. Gobernanza Pesquera (pp.181-213). México. Instituto Politécnico Nacional.
González-Laxe, F., Martin, F., Novo, I., Martin-Palmero, F. (2018). A global industry fishery. Ocean Coastal Manag., 50, 73-82.
Goodman, D. (2003). The quality “turn” and alternative local practices: reflections agenda. J. Rural Stu., 19, 1-17.
Hatamaka, M. & Bush, L. (2008). Third-Party certification in the global agrifood system: an objective or social mediated governance mechanism. Sociología Ruralis, 48(1), 73-91.
Hernández, Mª. & Villaseñor, A. (2014). La calidad en el sistema agroalimentario globalizado. R. Mexicana Soci., 76(4), 557-582.
Jentoft, S., Bavinck, M., Alonso-Población, E., Child, A., Diegues, A., Kalikoski, D., … & Solís, V. (2018). Working together in small-scale fisheries: harnessing collective action for poverty eradication. Mar. Stu., 17. 1-12.
Johnston, R. I, Wessels, C. R., Donath, H. & Asche, F. (2001). Measuring Consumer preference for ecolabeled seafood an international comparison. J. Agri. Resour. Econ., 26(1), 20-39.
Kaiser, M. J. & Edward-Jones, E. (2006). The role of ecolabeling in fisheries management and conservation. Cons. Biol., 20(2), 392-398.
Kaplinsky, R. (2000). Globalization and unequalization: what can be learned from value chain analysis? J. Dev. Stud., 37(2), 117-146.
Le Roux, S. & Noël, J. (2007). Mondialisation et conflits autour des ressources halieutiques. Ecol. Polit., 34, 69-82.
Mahon, R., Mc Conney, P. & Roy, R.N. (2008). Governing fisheries as complex adaptative systems. Mar. Policy, 32(1), 104-122.
Mansfield, B. (2003). Spatializing globalization: geography of quality in the seafood industry. Econ. Geography, 79, 1-16.
McMichael, P. (2005). Global development and the corporate food regime. New Dir. Sociol. Global Dev., 11, 269-303.
McMichael, P. (2009). A food regimen genealogy. J. Peasant Stu., 36(1), 139-169.
Noel, J. (2013). Le système monde aquatique: panorama géographique d´une filière globalisée. Inform. Géo., 77(1), 76-100.
North, D. C. (1990). Institutions, Institutional Change and Economics Performance. EE. UU. Cambridge University Press.
OECD. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. (2010). Globalisation in fisheries and aquaculture. Opportunities and challenges. Paris. OECD Publishing.
Omstrom, E. (1999). Governing the commons: the evolution of Institutions for Collective Action. EE. UU.: Cambridge University Press.
Orléan, A. (1989). Pour une approche cognitive des conventions, En J. P. Dupuy, F. Eymard-Duvernay, O. Favereau, A. Orléan, R. Salais & L. Thévenot, (Eds.) L´économie des conventions, Revue Économique, 40(12), 341-372.
Österblom, H., Jouffray, J. B., Folke, C., Crona, B., Troell, M., Merrie, A. & Rockström, J. (2015). Transnational corporations as ´Keystone Actors´ in Marine Ecosystems. PLOS One, 10(5). e0127533. https: //doi.irg//10.1371/journal.pone.0127533
Parrot, N., Wilson, N. & Murdoch, J. (2002). Spatializing quality: regional protection and the alternative geography of food. Eur. Urban Reg. Stud., 9, 241-261.
Pauly, D. (2018). A vision for marine fisheries in a global blue economy. Marine Policy, 87, 371-374.
Pérez-Ramirez, M., Castrejón, M., Gutiérrez, N. & Defo, O. (2015). The MSC certification in Latin-America and the Caribbean: a review of experiences potentials and pitfalls. Fis. Res., 182, 50-58.
Pérez-Ramirez, M., Phillips, B., Lluch-Belda, D. & Lluch-Cota, S. (2012). Perspectives for implementing fisheries certification in developing countries. Mar. Policy, 36, 297-302.
Ponte, S. (2009). Governing through quality: conventions and supply relations in the value chain for South African wine. Sociologia Ruralis, 49(3), 236-257.
Potts, J. & Haward, M. (2016). State of Sustainability Initiatives review: standards and the Blue Economy. Canadá. IISD/IIED/FAST.
Roheim, C. A., Asche, F. & Insignares, J. (2011). The elusive price Premium for ecolabelled products: evidence from seafood in the UK market. J. Agr. Econ., 62, 655-668.
Salais, R. & Storper, M. (1992). The four worlds of contemporary industry. Cambridge J. Econ., 16,169-193.
Salas, S. & Gaertner, D. (2004). The behavioural dynamics of fishers: management implications. Fis. Fish, 5, 153-167.
Song-Grudwag, G., Larsen. T. & Young, J. (2013). The value of line-caught and other attributes: an exploration of price premium for chilled fish in UK supermarkets. Mar. Policy, 38, 41-44.
Song, A., Johnsen, J., Morrrison, T. (2018). Reconstructing governability: How fisheries are made. Fis. Fish., 19, 377-389
Wilkinson, J. (2010). Economic and agro food studies in Brazil: combining social networks, convention and social movements approaches. Econ. Soc., 11(2), 23-32.
Zepeda, J. A., Vergara, M., Gómez, A., Espinosa, M., Espinoza, A. & López, A. (2019). Beneficios de las etiquetas en pesquerías en vías de desarrollo: capítulo México. En G. Ponce & F. González-Laxe (Eds.), Gobernanza Pesquera (pp.163-180). México. Instituto Politécnico Nacional.
How to Cite
González Laxe, F. (2020). Social conventions and certification of fishery products. Journal of Marine and Coastal Sciences, 12(1), 135.155.

Comentarios (ver términos de uso)