Based on the previous discussion, the following recommendations are made for different stakeholder groups.
Standard-setting organizations should:
- Develop standards following guidelines produced by FAO/NACA, ISEAL and ISO especially in terms of transparency, consensus building and the participation of stakeholders directly impacted by the standards.
- Where possible, encourage the development of standards that are more balanced towards small-scale producers (i.e. less demanding in terms of requirements and number of control points).
- Aim at developing standards that are based on performance improvements more than mere compliance (or lack of compliance) to a set of prescriptive requirements.
- Increase the inclusiveness of standards to target a higher proportion of producers therefore addressing the sustainability of the sector instead of the sustainability of only a very limited number of producers. To avoid becoming less strict, schemes could develop a system of step-wise certification, with different steps being associated with an increasing number of control points being complied with.
- Increase efforts towards harmonization (and preferably benchmarking) of different schemes to reduce the costs of compliance to different schemes and to ensure that consistent messages are delivered to the stakeholders involved (particularly producers).
- Develop programmes for the dissemination of standards for implementation regardless of the process of certification associated with standards' implementation.
Inspection and CBs should:
- Operate following ISO guides (and the FAO aquaculture certification guidelines when finalized) on conformity assessment, especially in terms of ensuring independence from the supply chain and other forms of conflicts of interest.
Governments should seek to:
- Promote the development of and participate in cost-sharing mechanisms (in conjunction with other stakeholders, e.g. producers, processors, etc.) for the assessment of conformity to certification standards.
- Promote the development of "sustainable aquaculture zones" that can be recognized by buyers as targeting sustainability broadly and at every stakeholder level.
- Focus on those aspects of standards' implementation that are targeting the reduction of externalities of aquaculture production (e.g. environmental and social impact, etc.), while at the same time developing legislation that addresses mandatory requirements for aquaculture production.
- Disseminate and promote BMP that address sustainability broadly and, as such, are beneficial to the aquaculture sector regardless if they are linked to a certification scheme.
- Support producers, especially small-scale farmers in the process of identifying schemes that bring the most profits (i.e. have an established market chain and premium price mechanism).
- Be prepared to pay a premium price for products produced following standards that also address environmental and social sustainability. In fact, compliance to criteria that address these so-called externalities has a cost for producers and this cost should be built into the price of the products, therefore requiring higher prices for such products.
Consumers and consumer organization should:
- Be prepared to pay a premium price for products produced following standards that also address environmental and social sustainability.
- Seek information on the meaning of different certification schemes to promote responsible consumption of aquaculture products more strongly.
Processors and traders should:
- Be prepared to support, through premium prices, products that have higher quality and a lower risk of rejection.
- Participate in cost-sharing schemes that support producers to comply with schemes that address the sustainability of the sector.
- Where possible create relationships with producer organizations to establish stable market links that can improve traceability and accountability.
- Adopt BMP approaches to address the sustainability of the sector.
- Respect legal requirements, especially concerning the planning and management of aquaculture areas.
- Carefully evaluate (and if necessary seek assistance) in the identification of certification schemes that can bring true benefits in terms of both quantity and quality, especially focusing on the schemes that can ensure a better price.