Values behind biodiversity and moral duties : development of a conceptual model for ethical environmental accounting using salmon farming as a case study
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AbstractImagine if salmon snared on a hook or fish caught in a net were to scream and shout when they were extracted from the water. What would sports fishing and professional fishing have been like then? Would fish farming have been approved? These are some of the dilemmas that are discussed in a doctoral thesis on ethical questions linked to assessments of the intrinsic and utilitarian values of nature. This applies to both individual animals and different species as well as to entire ecosystems.
The thesis develops a model for how to manage ethical questions in regard to nature. The model, which is based on philosophical theories within environmental ethics, is used in an analysis of environmental questions in regard to salmon fishing in Norway.
Assessments of the utilitarian, intrinsic, recreational and aesthetic values of nature are central. By way of example, one may ask whether it is ethically acceptable for environmental interests to oppose the revegetation of cultural landscapes. In principle, this obstructs nature’s own development in order to preserve a nature that strictly speaking has been created by humans. Why should the effect of agriculture on originally pristine nature be defended, while the fish farming industry is criticized for doing the same thing in coastal areas? The thesis also critically assesses the fish farming industry’s contribution to the world’s food supply and to an equitable distribution of food.
The PhD thesis has been funded by the Research Council of Norway with support from the Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL) and the Norwegian Seafood Export Council (EFF). The research has been conducted by Arne Sveinson Haugen at the Centre for Technology, Innovation and Culture at the University of Oslo.