Salmon ( Salmo salar) aquaculture is a n industry that has raised controversy and debate in Norway, Canada and Scotland
. The discourse surrounding the aquaculture industry includes a wide array of environmental and socio -economic matters
, which can influence and shape public acceptance and trust in the industry. In all the aforementioned countries , open net pens sited along the coastline has been the primary production method of salmon. This production method is associated with several environmental risks , and despite being a relatively cost-efficient method , these challenges have hampered production growth. As a result, fish farmers are exploring new technological avenues that can reduce the environmental impact and utilize new production sites. Exposed, closed floating cages and land-based aquaculture are among the new production methods that are being developed and used by fish farmers. However, there might be potential drawbacks that can draw negative attention. On the other hand, there could also be a dvantages that could increase willingness to pay (WTP) , trust and the reputation of the industry .
Th is study will explore public perceptions of new aquaculture production systems, and the public’s willingness to pay for price premiums. The research question for this study is: what, according to the public, are the most important advantages and drawbacks of different production systems, and are consumers willing to pay for salmon produced using these production systems?
To investigate public perceptions of new production systems and willingness to pay for salmon produced using these systems, w e are conducting an experimental panel survey in the salmon-producing countries of Norway, Scotland, and Canada. The survey is in the process of being fielded by the international, online polling company, YouGov.
We first examine how the public views conventional, land-based, closed floating, and offshore aquaculture by asking them to rank a series of real-world advantages and drawbacks to each production system. We next investigate their willingness to pay for salmon farmed using new production systems through a choice experiment where price is manipulated . After receiving information about the benefits and drawbacks of the production system ( i.e., land-based, closed floating, or offshore) , respondents are asked if they would rather buy salmon farmed using conventional methods or salmon farmed using the new production system. In Panel 1, the price for salmon farmed using the new production system is higher than the price for salmon farmed using the conventional system . In Panel 2 , the price for salmon farmed using the new production system is the same as the price for salmon farmed using the conventional system. The survey design also includes general questions regarding attitudes towards conventional aquaculture, and what the respondents perceive to be the most negative environmental externalities from conventional aquaculture.
Once the results are ascertained (in June 2023), they will be analysed using SPSS.
As of May-June 2023, the survey is in the process of being fielded, and the key results will be presented at the conference.
We hypothesise that respondents will favour new production methods over conventional methods, but not at an increased price.
Furthermore, we hypothesize that perceptions of conventional aquaculture will vary between the salmon producing countries; with Canadian respondents being more negative towards conventional aquaculture than Norwegian and Scottish respondents.
We also expect to see differences in the level of public support for the new production systems across countries. In Canada, we expect production methods that reduce the release of organic matter to receive the most public support whereas in Norway and Scotland we expect production methods that reduce lice and increase fish welfare to receive most public support.
This study is a part of the project “Compareit” . The project is financed by the Research Council of Norway, grant number 319647 .
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