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Title: Sustainable Development of Export-Orientated Farmed Seafood in Thailand
Authors: Nietes-Satapornvanit, Arlene
Supervisor(s): Little, David Colin
Murray, Francis
Keywords: Sustainable development
Migrant labour
Issue Date: 2014
Publisher: University of Stirling
Abstract: Sustainable development of export-orientated farmed seafood in Thailand is a major issue which can impact local stakeholders as well as global food security. The major species taken into consideration in this research were initially the Pacific white shrimp (Litopenaeus vannamei), Nile tilapia (Oreochromis niloticus), giant freshwater prawn (Macrobrachium rosenbergii), and striped catfish (Pangasianodon hypophthalmus). After which more focus was placed on Pacific white shrimp, which is Thailand’s major cultured seafood being traded for export, and tilapia, which has potential for export but also enjoying a good domestic market demand. Actors or stakeholders directly and indirectly involved in aquaculture value chains may have their own perceptions about sustainability affecting their operations, as various factors within and outside their own systems could affect these perceptions. This could lead to different efforts in responding to these factors to make their operations sustainable. Three major areas were covered in this study, namely a) describing the strengths and weaknesses of shrimp and tilapia production in Thailand in relation to their export potential, b) evaluating the status of compliance to global aquaculture standards of shrimp and tilapia farming (covering technical and labour aspects), and c) determining perceptions of sustainability across the shrimp and tilapia value chains in Thailand, with a focus on the production sector. A mixed-methods approach was employed to obtain information in the study sites in Thailand. Basic field interviews were conducted among 206 shrimp producers in 6 provinces in the east and south, and 199 tilapia producers in 4 provinces in the west and east, in terms of farm operations and perceptions of factors which will affect the sustainability of their operations, including generational aspects on future shrimp and tilapia farming. Key informant interviews were also conducted among other value chain actors (>30) such as hatchery/nursery operators, input/service providers, processors/exporters and technical/ institutional members to determine whether there are differences in their sustainability perceptions. In addition, face to face interviews with 18 shrimp farm male and female workers were conducted (Thai and migrant workers), as well as with 14 key informants involved in shrimp farm labour issues in Thailand, specifically for well-being and working conditions. Stakeholders cited environmental (technical), economic, social and institutional (equity) aspects of their operations as factors which will affect the sustainability of their operations. Disease, product price and water quality were the three most important sustainability factors among shrimp farmers, whereas water quality, disease and extreme weather conditions were for tilapia farmers. Product price was the most cited by input service providers, hatchery operators, shrimp and tilapia producers, and processors. Both Thai and migrant shrimp farm workers perceived a better or much better-off quality of life working in shrimp farms in Thailand than in their previous occupations or status. Almost all shrimp farms meet more than what are required under the Thai labour law or the global aquaculture standards for human resources. With the importance of migrant labour in Thailand, much still needs to be done in terms of assessing the impact of their working in Thailand on their families left behind in their own countries, as well as on their communities, including status of social protection to avoid exploitation. Each stakeholder group strives to achieve sustainability so they can remain in operation in the next few years, to survive on the business individually and corporately, and to be the best provider of sustainably and ethically produced seafood for the world. The compliance to aquaculture global standards and certifications may be considered to contribute to the sustainability of operations by improving farm practices thereby reducing detrimental impacts on farm and external environments, as well as strengthening human relations with in the farm and in the community. However there are some aspects of these standards which could eliminate the small players. In this study, the large scale farms were more likely to comply with all the standards, followed by medium scale, and lastly the small scale farms. The differences in perceptions which exist among these stakeholders should be understood by every sector and efforts should be made to address them so that there is cohesiveness in giving support to achieve sustainable seafood production and trade.
Type: Thesis or Dissertation

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