For aquaculture, and in particular Integrated Multi-trophic Aquaculture (IMTA) to realise its potential, it must be socially acceptable; IMTA success will depend on satisfying key stakeholders. As part of a process towards understanding stakeholder attitudes towards IMTA, a stakeholder analysis has been undertaken in each partner country undertaking a pilot scale IMTA operation. The analysis has included investigating the social context and history of engagement within which stakeholders operate in each country; identifying the relevant stakeholders, and indeed the key stakeholders in terms of power and influence; and assessing the relationships between stakeholders.
This report by Karen Alexander – SAMS, provides the methods used in the stakeholder analysis and the results of the study by country as well as a cross-country comparison/synthesis.
Results of the interviews showed that levels of stakeholder engagement within the aquaculture industry fluctuate between countries, and where more stakeholder engagement takes place this is often because the regulatory process requires it. Businesses likely have neither the time nor the money to undertake work which is not required by regulation or believed to be necessary. This is a clear area of interest for the IDREEM project and opportunity for future discussion with stakeholders in terms of building a constituency around IMTA development and improving community support. A complementary aspect is engagement of consumer-related stakeholders, in particular those involved in certification and other ‘soft’ regulation. Market receptiveness to IMTA is key to its expansion and therefore distinguishing the environmental advantages of IMTA over the products of monoculture needs to be considered.
Based on the results of these interviews the following recommendations for further action were identified:
- IMTA operators should continue to monitor and engage with key stakeholders, particularly those identified as ‘players’ in the analysis;
- Building a constituency or ‘base of support’ will be critical for moving IMTA forward through all phases of the supply chain and to the consumer. Resources should be focused on maintaining the interest of ‘subjects’ and increasing their engagement (ie. moving them towards becoming ‘players’);
- Stakeholder engagement will strategically improve information sharing, innovation, and potentially generate new resources for IMTA development.