The SEAT project involves 12 Work Packages examining many areas of the aquaculture industry and trade from Asia to the EU from producers to consumers. Some key outcomes of the project are listed below and further details are available through the ‘Work Packages’ pages of this website.
- Creation of the Ethical Aquatic Food Index (EAFI) with values relating to food production, processing and marketing for all relevant stakeholders
- Development of Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) methodology for use in comparing environmental performance of products and services in the industry
- Review and development of environmental models for quantitative investigation of environmental sustainability and quality standards of aquaculture systems
- Examination of Global Value Chains (GVC) for relevant aquaculture products including analysis of socio-economic dimensions. Information asymmetries assessed for all actors in the GVC and the implications for market access
- Improve safety of aquaculture produce for all stakeholders in the value chain, and improved control of occupational health and safety for farmers
- Examination of impacts of chemical inputs to aquaculture systems and associated risk assessment development for endpoints e.g. ecosystem, produce and consumers
- Evidence-based ethical advice for policy makers, standard setting organisations and consumers to inform participatory standards development and awareness raising
- Provision of guidance to Asian exporters and regulatory agencies relating to policy within the EU hygiene package and implementation of the EAFI
The SEAT project has recently completed a round of in-depth survey work with 400 farmers in each project country. This was the end point in a multi-phase sampling effort which started with collection of secondary data, and focus group and key informant interviews at national level. The provinces and districts selected for this work have the greatest concentrations of export oriented farms and allied processing operations. They include major delta areas with abundant fresh water resources, some of them trans-continental drainage systems; ie. the Mekong delta in Vietnam, the Pearl river delta in China, the Chao Phraya in Thailand and the Indo-Gangetic delta systems of Bangladesh. In keeping with the interdisciplinary nature of the project the survey integrated questions from all the main work packages. Preliminary analysis of results shows that, despite wide variation between countries and species, disease remains the primary short to medium term sustainability constraint in the opinion of the majority of farmers. Questions on farmer aspirations for their children revealed that smaller farmers in particular are less positive about their children’s future participation in this sector, reflecting the greater economic uncertainty at this scale of operation. Extreme weather was also highlighted in many of these low-lying delta areas, pointing towards long-term sustainability issues related to climate change. By the same token, aquaculture may provide a mitigation response as an economic activity which can be conducted in saline areas. Detailed outcomes will be available shortly.