LAND-BASED AQUACULTURE IN THE GREAT LAKES REGION: TRUST DYNAMICS AND BARRIERS TO GROWTH
Aquaculture is an industry that is receiving increased federal and state investment to potentially ease demand on overexploited capture fisheries and reduce the significant edible -seafood trade deficit by providing consumers with a source of healthy locally grown protein. There is a growing investment in the growth of the industry, yet it faces many challenges. In the Great Lakes region of the midwestern U.S., a major agricultural hub, the food-fish industry has struggled to see substantial growth. Understanding these barriers to growth could allow for more productive delegation of resources to alleviate challenges faced by aquaculture producers.
Additionally, regulation of the aquaculture industry can vary greatly by region and lacks a consistent regulatory structure and position amongst other major agricultural industries. Relationships between producers and regulators can be complicated, as aquaculture is typically regulated by entities who have more familiarity with and focus on other natural re source management areas such as crop agriculture, water quality, and land use or conservation. Understanding the trust diversity and dynamics at play may enhance the efficacy of natural resources management (NRM) in the aquaculture industry going forward.
In this study, we use the Theory of Planned Behavior (TPB) to examine behavioral intention of land-based, food-fish aquaculture producers in the Great Lakes region of the U.S. to expand or diversify their businesses, and what they perceive to be barriers standing in the way of doing so. We also use Stern and Coleman’s (2015) trust ecology framework to explore trust diversity and how this can affect the institutional resilience of aquaculture as an industry.
We report on qualitative interviews of 34 aquaculture producers across the region, examining barriers to growth of the food-fish aquaculture industry as well as issues of trust in management and regulation. The findings reveal barriers related to the high-risk nature of the industry, and a need for stronger support systems to alleviate some of these risks. The interview data also points to high levels of trust diversity in aquaculture, and an emphasis on the importance of affinitive trust held by aquaculture producers. Key drivers of trust and distrust in management of aquaculture, along with proposed trust repair strategies, offer lessons for more effective and collaborative natural resource management.
- Master of Science
- Forestry and Natural Resources
- West Lafayette