Aquaculture - A media analyses
All around the world, food fish is more and more produced in aquaculture. The media coverage of aquaculture plays an important role for the public perception of the sector. Which aspects are communicated and how are they interpreted?
Aquaculture production has increased rapidly since the 1970s. Today, ca. 42% of the food fish originates from aquaculture. Aquaculture contributes greatly to the supply of food protein. However, aquaculture is criticized for its potential risks for the environment, animals and humans. The aquaculture sector has to address these issues. It needs to enter into a dialog with the society.
In this context, public media are an important factor since they are a central information source. "Aquamedia" analyzed the presentation of aquaculture in the most read German newspapers (Süddeutschte Zeitung, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung and BILD) and their online editions. The results provide first indications for the influence media can have on the public perception of aquaculture. The stakeholders were highlighted to whom public media refers to. Addressed topics were exposed and the coverage of organic aquaculture practices as well as closed recirculating systems were examined. Thereby, the role of media towards the aquaculture sector was explored and ideas for communicating aquaculture via media to consumers were developed.
We registered all articles of the most read German newspapers published during 2008 and 2013. All articles were analyzed using content analyzes and the agenda setting approach. The agenda-setting approach distinguishes between first and second level agenda-setting. While first level agenda-setting focuses on the amount of coverage of an issue such as aquaculture, second level agenda setting refers to the tones which result from the selection and description of an issue’s attributes and aspects. In our study we focused on the second level agenda-setting effect in order to identify how the analyzed media presented aquaculture as a news issue. Additionally, we analyzed the influence of different stakeholders on the media. The degree of influence can be approximated by the frequency of references and by assessing the roles the respective stakeholders took in the articles.
Our results indicate that the analyzed media mainly reported on aquaculture in a positive to neutral tone. Economic benefits of aquaculture dominated the coverage, while potential negative aspects of aquaculture were less pronounced. Organic fish farming and closed recirculating systems were both presented as eco-friendly practices. The German aquaculture sector was described as sustainable and practicing good management.
1.2014 - 12.2014