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WWF Draft Standards for Responsible Pangasius Aquaculture Completed; First Public Comment Period Begins. WWF Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue to Meet in May; Developing Criteria and Indicators Will Top the Agenda

Draft standards for World Wildlife Fund 's responsible pangasius farming have been posted for public comment. The process of creating global standards for responsible trout aquaculture will move forward when the Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue meets next month in the Faroe Islands.

April 30, 2009

WWF Draft Standards for Responsible Pangasius Aquaculture Completed; First Public Comment Period Begins. WWF Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue to Meet in May; Developing Criteria and Indicators Will Top the Agenda

Draft standards for World Wildlife Fund (WWF)'s responsible pangasius farming, created by the 250-plus participants of the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue (PAD), have been  posted for public comment.

Feedback received during the 60-day comment period will be used by the PAD’s technical working groups, as well as the Process Facilitation Group that manages the PAD, to revise the standards. The global standards will address the key environmental and social issues related to pangasius farming, one of the fastest growing types of aquaculture in the world. Pangasius production increased from 400,000 tons in 2005 to 1.1 million tons in 2008.

“To get to this point, we’ve used the best science and input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including pangasius producers from Vietnam and Bangladesh, buyers, local and international environmental groups, and scientists,” said technical working group coordinator Nicolas Privet of Anova Food. “But we want and need input from as many people as possible to create standards that will protect the environment and benefit society.”

The draft standards were developed through a transparent, consensus-based process that began when the PAD was created in September 2007. It is similar to the process used by the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue, which is in the midst of revising tilapia standards to incorporate feedback received during the first of its two public comment periods. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) coordinates these and six other aquaculture Dialogues.

“There are other pangasius standards in the marketplace but we believe that the open and consensus-oriented approach used in this Dialogue will make the PAD standards more effective,” said PAD Coordinator Flavio Corsin, who works for WWF in Vietnam, where most pangasius is produced. “The public comment period, which we take very seriously, is one of the mechanisms we will use to keep the process open.”

During the public comment period, Corsin and others involved with the PAD also will be keeping the process as open as possible by proactively reaching out to small-scale aquaculture producers, fishermen and agriculture farmers in Vietnam and Bangladesh to get their input on the standards.

The PAD operates in accordance with the world’s most reputable guidelines for developing environmental and social standards, which were created by the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance.

Corsin said the PAD standards also will be the most credible standards for farmers to adopt because they will be metrics-based, which is the best way to determine if environmental and social issues related to pangasius farming – such as water pollution, the destruction of sensitive habitat and unfair labor practices –  are being addressed.

The standards are expected to be finalized in the fall, after the completion of two 60-day public comment periods. The draft standards will be revised, as needed, after each public comment period so as to incorporate feedback received.

The PAD standards will be given to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to manage when that entity is in operation. WWF announced in January that it is going to help create the ASC, which will be responsible for working with independent, third party entities to certify farms that are in compliance with the standards being created by participants of the Aquaculture Dialogues.

To read and comment on the PAD standards, go to www.worldwildlife.org/pangasiusdialogue.


WWF Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue to Meet in May; Developing Criteria and Indicators Will Top the Agenda

The process of creating global standards for responsible trout aquaculture will move forward when the Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue meets next month in the Faroe Islands, one of the top regions in the world for producing farmed trout.

Trout producers, conservationists, industry suppliers, scientists and other experts who attend the Dialogue meeting, which will be held in conjunction with the meeting of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers, will begin to develop the criteria and indicators that will be the framework for the final standards.

When adopted by producers, the standards will minimize the key environmental and social impacts of trout aquaculture – such as water pollution and the transfer of diseases to other fish – which were identified at the Dialogue kick-off meeting in November.

“The Dialogue process is an opportunity to promote sustainability and quality and get more producers involved in long-term sustainable production so that the industry may continue to be profitable,” said trout Dialogue Steering Committee member Niels Alsted of BioMar.

Christoph Mathiesen of World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who coordinates the Dialogue, said these will be the most credible standards in the marketplace because they will be created through an open, transparent and consensus-oriented process. The Dialogue operates in accordance with the world’s most reputable guidelines for developing environmental and social standards, which were created by the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance.

“We recognize the value of getting input from as many people as possible if we want the standards to be effective and attainable,” Mathiesen said. “If they participate, I can promise them their voices will be heard.”

Mathiesen said that all comments made during the process will be used by the Dialogue’s Steering Committee to create the draft standards that will be posted for a six-month public comment period before being finalized next year.

The standards also will be the most credible standards for farmers to adopt because they will be measurable, which is the best way to determine if environmental and social issues related to trout farming are being addressed.

To ensure the standards are based on the best science available, one of the other goals of the May meeting will be to identify research that needs to be done to fill information gaps related to freshwater trout aquaculture.

If you would like to attend the meeting, contact Christoph Mathiesen at c.mathiesen@wwf.dk by April 30th. For more information about the trout Dialogue, go to www.worldwildlife.org/troutdialogue

The trout Dialogue is one of eight WWF-initiated Dialogues underway globally. Standards also are being developed for salmon, tilapia, shrimp, pangasius, abalone, bivalve shellfish, Seriola and cobia. For more information about the Dialogues, go to www.worldwildlife.org/aquadialogues

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