World Aquaculture Singapore 2022

November 29 - December 2, 2022



Thuy T. T. Pham*, Sveinn Agnarsson


UiT The Arctic University of Norway, University of Tromsø

Hansine Hansens veg 18, 9019 Tromsø



Aquaculture plays a key role in the supply of high-quality seafood. However, European (EU) aquaculture contributes only approximately 10% of the global seafood production, while 65% of seafood consumed in the EU is currently imported. The production base of EU aquaculture is currently relatively narrow. Although EU aquaculture includes more than 70 different species, only five species cultured in the Atlantic Ocean region make up 90% of its cultivated fish production. This shows that EU aquaculture has a potential for expansion and diversification. If EU aquaculture is successful, it could make a considerable contribution to the local and regional coastal economies, as well as to the provision fish-based nutrition to European and export markets.

In response to that necessity, the EU Horizon AquaVitae project aims at increasing production in and around the Atlantic region by developing new and emerging low trophic species, and by optimizing production in existing aquaculture value chains under the principle of circular economy. The study is a part of this project, with the main goal to examine whether the circular products developed in AquaVitae are accepted by society in general.

Particularly, this study attempts to investigate consumers’ willingness to pay towards low trophic species products. The analysis is done based on a survey of 1213 consumers from four countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean. Choice experiment is employed to examine whether the public is willing to pay a premium for “nutritional value and sustainably farmed” low trophic species products.

There has been substantial research undertaken on consumers’ willingness to pay towards conventional aquaculture products using choice experiment. Yet, empirical evidence towards low trophic species aquaculture products is almost non-existent. This study attempts to fill that gap, while at the same time taking advantage of the data richness of the survey to analyse consumer attitudes toward not just one buts multiple species and explore divergence of consumers’ willingness to pay across the Atlantic region.

The experiment demonstrates that the public has a willingness to pay 51% above ordinary price for a high nutrient value and 40% for environmental sustainability in low trophic species farming but not for products that are socially responsible. Also, the consumer surplus increases as we move to product scenarios with higher nutritional value, environmentally friendly, and socially responsible. All scenarios with either no certification of environmentally friendly or low or medium nutritional value have low consumer surplus, whereas the consumer surplus for all scenarios with products of high environmental awareness and high nutritional value is substantial (% WTP above the ordinary price). Hence, the single most important attribute that affects the consumers’ welfare is high nutritional