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Abstract

Overfishing has depleted fish stocks globally. While governments recognise that revised regulation is required to effectively manage fisheries, a lack of meaningful policy has led to the creation of private market-based sustainability regulators. The most prominent is the Marine Stewardship Council (MSC). This certification is little used in Australian fisheries however the local industry is interested to know the benefits from adopting MSC certification more widely. A meta-synthesis on the benefits of MSC certification indicates price premiums exist for some certified products in the United Kingdom and Europe but not in Asia. The transmission of this premium back to producers appears to be contingent on the supply chain structure and the existence of certified intermediaries. The cost of implementing MSC must be considered on a case-by-case basis however Australia’s current fishery management regime and government support positions producers to implement this at a relatively moderate cost. This alignment between government and the MSC may also reduce ongoing compliance costs. Further research on Australian consumer’s willingness to pay for MSC certification is required, however it is expected that as MSC becomes more established Australians will develop brand equity. There are also significant social benefits resulting from increased stakeholder engagement during certification. It therefore appears that further adoption of the MSC sustainable certification is likely to increase supply chain profitability in Australia.

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