Alternative seafood marketing systems foster transformative processes in Mediterranean fisheries

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15 Citations (Scopus)


Local fisheries have often limited influence on the pricing dynamics due to their low capacity of production and because they must compete with aquaculture products or imported seafood. As a response, new marketing and labelling initiatives, such as direct sale and certification of origin schemes, have emerged. In Catalonia and the Balearic Islands, over the last 15 years, these initiatives have been thriving in the interstices of the traditional marketing channels, which start at the auction as the first sale system and largely determine the ex-vessel prices. These initiatives represent a pragmatic effort to cope with the diminishing fisheries resources while adding value to the catches and helping to improve the sale prices. They are also a way to acquire larger market flexibility to face global challenges. We investigated emerging marketing and labelling initiatives by means of one discussion session, semi-structured interviews with fishers, fishmongers and other actors involved in the production, first sale and distribution of seafood. In this paper, we draw from 4 years of fieldwork in Catalonia and the Balearic Islands to investigate the history and evolution of alternative seafood marketing arrangements and why some have succeeded and others failed. The research provides an illustrative example of how fishers adapt and resist global market forces and calls into question the monopolistic structures grounded in the existing relationships between fisheries associations and middlepersons. The results of the fieldwork also highlighted the problem of adjusting catches to demand, and the conflicts of interest between the fisheries sectors, enterprises and fisheries associations.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages11
JournalMarine Policy
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2021


  • Direct marketing
  • Labelling
  • Marketing systems
  • Mediterranean Sea
  • Prices
  • Seafood


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