Saturday, April 19, 2008

Organic sticker shock a lesson for sustainable seafood

Organic food is a success story right? But some organic farmers are going back to conventional farming, even though demand for organic food is high and prices are high. Is this a problem? YES!

Sustainable seafood people should watch and learn.

Rising costs snowball from farm to market, scaring off customers. Prices are skyrocketing for organic food, according to the New York Times. Some reliable organic customers are responding by cutting back their organic food buying. All because the supply of organic food is too small.

The demand side of organic is doing well, it's the supply side that's struggling.

The lesson for sustainable seafood is that we need to do things to increase the supply of sustainable seafood. Otherwise, we might face the same problem as organic food right now.

Who is working to increase supplies of sustainable seafood? Most sustainable seafood advocates think the invisible hand of the marketplace will solve that problem. It ain't working for organic food right now, so why do we think sustainable seafood will be any different?


Anonymous said...

That's a really interesting question. Even though "the invisible hand of the marketplace" is the foundation we've all be working from, I've always had this little inkling of doubt because there are just so many people that don't care.

Can we really reach all of them with our messages? If we reach them, can we inspire them to care? If so, can we reach them in time?

In reality (one that will make many conservationists squirm) fishery managers are really the ones with the power to make seafood sustainable. There are already groups lobbying for better regulations, as well as those putting political pressure on the managers.

But lack of scientific data are another big problem holding back fishery management. So should the rest of us be devoting our money and brainpower to research and data collection?

Anonymous said...

Thanks, Mark. Very interesting post. If it's not the invisible hand, why whatever do you mean? (And recall a certain Dick Cheney in a post a while back...)

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