The latest FAO Globefish market report on Nile perch argues that the popularity of this fish in European markets like Germany has been enhanced by Naturland certification. Naturland has developed standards for environmentally and socially sustainable capture fisheries. In the case of Lake Victoria Nile perch, these standards focus on:
- strict requirements as to the type of fishing gear used and the minimum size of fish that are allowed to be caught;
- fair working conditions for those employed in the processing industry;
- price transparency and fair trade relationships between the fishermen and export companies;
- safety measures such as life vests;
- kindergartens and schools in fishing villages;
- comprehensive health care.
‘As ethically produced and environmentally friendly seafood is becoming more important for consumers, the achievement of certification standards and the right to display these logos give producing companies a competitive edge, although the price premium achieved may still be modest’, according to Naturland documentation. Indeed, as highlighted by Globefish, prices of Nile perch were at their highest in 2009 – reaching a peak of €7.00 per kg for larger sized fish – and, although the Naturland scheme was introduced in that period, they dropped to €4.50 per kg by June 2011.
Initially, in order to encourage producers to participate in eco-label schemes, certifiers stated that eco-labelled products would provide producers with a price premium. Today, environmental (and, more recently social) sustainability seem to have become minimum requirements imposed by retailers for securing market shares. This means that producers have to shoulder the overall costs of eco-labelling schemes, with limited cost retrieval. This explains up to a point why many development cooperation agencies (such as GIZ in the case of Naturland) are supporting eco-labelling initiatives financially, because without such support, there would be no incentive for producers to engage in them.