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Conservation and Society
An interdisciplinary journal exploring linkages between society, environment and development
Conservation and Society
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Year : 2014  |  Volume : 12  |  Issue : 2  |  Page : 218-228

Seafood Banquets in Beijing: Consumer Perspectives and Implications for Environmental Sustainability

1 Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, Australia
2 Department of Sociology, Peking University, Beijing, China

Correspondence Address:
Michael Fabinyi
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None

DOI: 10.4103/0972-4923.138423

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Understanding the social drivers of increased seafood consumption in China, such as consumer perspectives in banquets, will be crucial if practical strategies to introduce sustainability into this market are to be successfully implemented. Based on 34 semi-structured interviews with key informants including seafood restaurant operators, seafood consumers and seafood traders, this study investigated seafood consumer attitudes and behaviours in Beijing seafood restaurants. The results and discussion is divided into sections that address the popularity and reasons behind the popularity of: 1) seafood banquets in general; 2) fish at banquets; 3) other forms of seafood at banquets; and 4) preferred characteristics and qualities of seafood at banquets. The consumption of certain types of seafood such as live reef fish and sea cucumber is becoming increasingly popular, while the consumption of shark fin is decreasing in popularity. Awareness and concern about sustainability and traceability issues were relatively low, and more significant themes for understanding consumer preferences about seafood include social status and prestige, food safety and quality, and health and nutrition. The paper concludes by demonstrating the implications for market-based interventions and government regulation.

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