Cost and logistical constraints can be barriers to the inclusion of small-scale farmers in aquaculture certification schemes. Adopting a cluster-based approach, where groups of adjacent farms are certified together, can facilitate the participation of small-scale producers maintain their access to markets. Group-based certification can also assist with extension and implementation of better management practices required to achieve certification and compliance monitoring.
International requirements on food safety, traceability, animal health and welfare and social responsibility are increasingly stringent. The burden of compliance and the cost of certification are particularly heavy for small scale farmers who are often excluded by the limited resources at their disposal. Working in groups can help small scale farmers attain economies of scale necessary to address compliance issues and participate in certification schemes, improving their competitive position.