Sustaining Ethical Aquatic Trade (SEAT)

Creating a framework to assess the sustainability of fish farms which will set sustainability standards and give consumers information about the the sustainability and safety of their seafood.

General information

  • Start date: September 2009
  • End Date: September 2013
  • Contact: Jeroen Guinée
  • Commissioner: European Commission (FP7)
  • Project partners:
    University of Stirling, UK
    CEFAS Weymouth Laboratory, UK
    University of Copenhagen, Denmark
    Wageningen University, Netherlands
    Leiden University, Netherlands
    Shanghai Ocean University, China
    Can Tho University, Vietnam
    Kasetsart University, Thailand
    Bangladesh Agricultural University, Bangladesh
    World Wildlife Fund, Denmark
    World Fish Center, Malaysia
    Food and Agriculture Organisation, Italy
    University of Bergen, Norway
    Danish Institute for International Studies, Denmark.


Trade in aquatic products is the largest global food sector, by value, with Asia representing the main external source of aquatic products into the EU. Current EU policy supporting international trade between Asia and Europe concentrates on issues of food safety as measures of quality, whilst market-forces drive development of standards and labels that identify social and environmental parameters.

The SEAT project proposes to establish an evidence-based framework to support current and future stakeholder dialogues organised by third party certifiers. This will contribute to:

  • harmonising standards
  • giving consumers information about the the sustainability of their seafood
  • providing information about the safety of the seafood

The ‘Ethical Aquatic Food Index’ (EAFI), a qualitative holistic measure of overall sustainability intended to support consumers’ purchasing decisions, will be based on detailed research centred on a Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) of current processes.

Systems thinking will be applied to analyse potential economic and social impacts on fish farmers along the global value chains of four farmed aquatic products, tilapia, shrimp, freshwater prawns and Pangasius catfish in four major producing countries China, Thailand, Vietnam and Bangladesh. 

Initial assessments of environmental impacts by and on aquatic production and processing systems, and impacts on product safety and social equity will lead towards prioritisation of critical issues and supportive action research.

Smaller and somewhat larger fish farms based in the EU and Asia will participate in this process, enhancing their relative competitiveness. By strengthening the knowledge base surrounding EU-Asia seafood trade the project will provide the evidence required to support further expansion whilst ensuring a fair deal for producers who are meeting appropriate social and environmental goals and offering a safe and sustainable product for consumers.

More Information

The central SEAT project website contains latest news, photo's, videos and publications related to the SEAT project.

Last Modified: 07-05-2012