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The (un)sustainable game: An exploration of rhetorical strategies and risk communication in sustainable seafood campaigns

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posted on 23.05.2021, 18:51 by Brigitte Dreger-Smylie
In the 1990s, following the Newfoundland Grand Banks cod fishery collapse along Canada’s East Coast, the first seafood sustainability certification organization was formed to address this widespread crisis. Two notable campaigns were formed shortly thereafter, both programs the projects of marine aquariums along the West Coast, and have gained significant attention: Vancouver Aquarium’s Oceanwise provides seafood recommendations to restaurants on the most sustainable choices and Monterey Bay Aquarium’s Seafood Watch, creates and disseminates consumer guides. This MRP examines the communication strategies of Seafood Watch and Ocean Wise used to encourage the consumption of sustainable seafood and promote ocean conservation. More specifically, this MRP analyzes the organizations’ use of environmental rhetoric, particularly in terms of framing and topoi, and how they communicate risk and urgency. How sustainable seafood campaigns establish credibility and rationale in the public sphere to communicate urgent, technical information surrounding fishery mismanagement is examined. This research will help inform future guidelines for social marketing campaigns to improve strategy and encourage consumer change. Recommendations for future research include the creation of evaluative programs to measure campaign effectiveness as well as an analysis of the niche markets established through the rising sustainable seafood market.





Master of Professional Communication


Professional Communication

Granting Institution

Ryerson University

LAC Thesis Type