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Languages: English
Types: Doctoral thesis
Subjects: HD
The thesis firstly examines the extent to which different sources of governance activity have both changed the supply, processing and consumption of seafood in Britain and achieved its sustainability, food safety and quality over the period 1950 to 2013 and secondly reflects on the implications for agri-food and governance theories in which the UK seafood chain has not previously been considered. Using documentary sources, the compilation of a database of seafood companies and stakeholder interviews the research has reconstructed development and change over this period. In doing so it demonstrates a range of changes which can be related to different forms of governance: these include transformation of supply, diverse activities to raise sustainability, greatly improved quality and food hygiene systems and variations in consumer attitudes and practices. The thesis underlines the significance of public forms of regulation in changing the sources of supply as well as in the contested movement towards the more sustainable exploitation of fisheries, in raising food hygiene standards and in establishing the basis for nutritional advice to consumers with regard to seafood. Complementarily, the account also shows how private forms, particularly certification systems, have dominated governance of domestic aquaculture and of quality generally and how they have impacted on food safety. The thesis further examines how implementation of public governance is delegated and shared, including by analysis of various forms of mixed public and private governance, considers the various ways seafood consumption has been governed with attention both to both retailing and foodservice roles and assesses the contributions of civil society organisations. Based on these findings, the thesis argues that agri-food theories about internal supply chain functioning and the role of major retailers needs to be modified; it shows the limitations of explaining standards systems as the mode of control and the benefits of incorporating a power model of chain relationships. Further, in relation to external supply chain impacts the thesis demonstrates the need to emphasise the role of state regulation in the overall governance of food systems to a much greater extent than has usually been done hitherto. In relation to governance theory more broadly, the thesis examines the way changes in the operation of the British state have related to the seafood supply chain and the importance of examining the interests served in different types of governance with particular attention to the balance of public and private benefits resulting. The thesis thus analyses change in an important food source, illustrates how delegated state governance functions in a specific area and contributes to the theoretical basis for understanding food chains in general.
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