Seafood Ethics: Fishing for Food or Feed?

Date: 13th June 2018

Time: 1:00-3:00 pm

Venue: Banquet Hall (Großes Sitzungszimmer), University of Veterinary Medicine, Vienna


Mimi E. Lam (University of Bergen)

Matthias Kaiser (University of Bergen)

Thomas Potthast (University of Tübingen)

Corresponding Organizer:

Mimi E. Lam (Mimi.Lam(at)

Context and Aims:

This 3-part workshop aims to explore issues emerging in the nascent field of seafood ethics, which encompasses the descriptive and normative study of values, value-based trade-offs, and ethical dilemmas of stakeholders and citizens along diverse seafood value chains.

Part (1) is a practical ethics exercise where participants will deliberate upon and prioritize values and principles in relation to scenarios evaluated for their sustainable and ethical management of marine resources. The exercise will be done individually and in groups, with plenary report backs and discussions.

Part (2) is a set of brief presentations by three interdisciplinary experts to stimulate dialogue, critical reflection, and collaborative thinking on emerging research in seafood ethics and its relation to marine resource sustainability, policy, and governance: (i) We will present how stakeholder values were explored in the Canadian Pacific herring fishery conflict, highlighting methodological and governance challenges and new research to update the value set and incorporate ethical principles in the Norwegian herring fishery and aquaculture context; (ii) we will introduce an emerging theory of values to shed light on how the plurality of values in European society may be approached by mapping value landscapes in seafood value chains, i.e., from seafood producer, processor, distributor, retailer to consumer; and (iii) we will critically evaluate the practical ethics method and the utility of exploring values in resource management and analyze how ethical principles and indicators may offer alternative or additional approaches to sustainable management.

Part (3) is a facilitated discussion with participants to constructively debate the role and effectiveness of seafood ethics, values, and ethical principles in sustainable marine resource management.

Key Questions:

  • How are values, principles, attitudes, beliefs, preferences, and behaviours interrelated? How can these be investigated as part of a practical ethics or value-based approach to sustainable marine resource management? What are the bottlenecks?
  • What is needed for sound ethical assessments of marine resource management, seafood policy and governance? What ‘bottom-up’ and ‘top-down’ processes are needed to capture individual and societal values in normative assessments?
  • When analyzing complex seafood value chains, linking multiple social actors from diverse cultures with a plurality of values, how can the pluralistic value landscapes be reconciled within society to formulate seafood policy that is both just and sustainable? 

Target Group:

Ethicists, scientists-for-policy, state and EU public administrators, policy-makers, stakeholders, citizens. 

Key Words:

Values, practical ethics, seafood ethics, marine resource management, sustainability, trade-offs.