Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production industry globally and is considered to have the greatest potential to meet the growing demand for seafood and being a solution to overfishing. Despite the benefits of aquaculture, the rapid growth and intensification of production (so-called conventional aquaculture) has raised concerns about food safety, fish welfare, and environmental and social issues stemming from a tragedy of the commons. These concerns need to be addressed to enable sustainable aquaculture development. While the negative environmental impacts of aquaculture have been evaluated using physical and chemical indicators, the social acceptance has not been fully considered when evaluating aquaculture sustainability. With this backdrop, our study investigates knowledge and beliefs towards shrimp aquaculture development among two key stakeholder groups in Vietnam: the public and producers (shrimp farmers). Our results show that stakeholders were concerned about the social and environmental impacts of conventional shrimp aquaculture, although the different stakeholder groups emphasized different aspects. The public believed biodiversity loss and the overuse of antibiotics and pesticides to be more problematic compared to producers, who believed water quality and disease outbreaks were the main problems facing the industry. Following on from this, most respondents perceived sustainable aquaculture production positively, implying social acceptability for its development. Awareness of and knowledge about sustainable aquaculture positively and significantly affected stakeholders’ support for expansion, suggesting that communication and education may be effective tools for improving social acceptance of aquaculture.
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