Abstract—Trade of ornamental fish and aquarium supplies is extensive. The environmental impacts of the trade in ornamental fish are of considerable importance. In addition to this, the economic disparity between the importing and exporting countries within the trade can have social, environmental and economic ramifications for the poorer exporting countries. The research problem explored in this paper focuses on showcasing ways in which the certification program initiated by the Marine Aquarium Council (MAC) can be used as a framework for promoting the sustainability of marine ornamental fish populations and coral reef ecosystems. The MAC framework relies on consumers recognizing and supporting responsible collectors by selectively purchasing from these suppliers. Evidence regarding the likely economic benefits of the MAC system is presented using case study analysis. These case studies are used to examine the hypothesis that MAC certification yields economic benefits that spread from consumers and retailers to collectors, specifically through greater profits for collectors and a higher quality of specimen. However, MAC certified products are generally more expensive than non-certified products. It is a requirement, therefore, that MAC initiatives encourage consumers to prefer certified ornamental fish species that are harvested in an environmentally friendly manner. Studies of consumers’ willingness to pay and the potential economic benefits of MAC certification have shown that further promotion of MAC certification and its role in guaranteeing environmental sustainability is required to en sure the competitiveness of MAC certified fish with cheaper alternatives. The general results from these case studies have implications for the global sustainability of many other ocean resources.
Index Terms—Eco-certification, economics, MAC certification, marine aquaria trade.
M. Dykman is with the National Centre for Marine Conservation and Resource Sustainability at the Australian Maritime College, Tasmania, Australia (e-mail: mdykman@ postoffice.utas.edu.au).
Cite: M. Dykman , "The Environmental and Economic Benefits of Eco-Certification within the Ornamental Fish Trade ," International Journal of Trade, Economics and Finance vol. 3, no. 1, pp. 1 -5, 2012.