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An oyster spat collection rail in Mafia Island, Tanzania. (Photo: WWF-Canon/Jason Rubens)

Bivalve Aquaculture Dialogue to meet in PEI

Click on the flag for more information about Canada CANADA
Wednesday, March 10, 2010, 23:10 (GMT + 9)

Draft global standards for bivalve aquaculture are in the final stage of development by the Bivalve Aquaculture Dialogue and will be presented and discussed at an outreach meeting on 23 March in Prince Edward Island (PEI).

The standards are expected to be finalized during Q2 2010. They will address the potential negative environmental and social impacts associated with the farming of filter-feeding bivalves: clams, oysters, mussels and scallops.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF), which coordinates the bivalve Dialogue and serves on its 14-person Global Steering Committee, will lead the event.

"Given the importance of bivalve aquaculture in eastern Canada, we encourage people interested in this industry to come to the meeting to learn about the Dialogue and share their thoughts about the draft standards that are under development," said bivalve Dialogue coordinator Colin Brannen of WWF.

Similar outreach meetings have been convened by the Dialogue in Australia and China.

All input from the meeting and feedback received during the final 60-day public comment period for the standards, which ends on 1 April, will be used to revise the draft standards.

Filter-feeding bivalves make up one-quarter of the world's aquaculture production. China is the top producer, followed by Japan, the US, France, Thailand, Spain, New Zealand and Italy.

Filter-feeding bivalves feed on naturally occurring phytoplankton, which ends the need for external feed inputs. Also, these shellfish filter sediment and excess nutrients, improving water quality.

Because this type of seafood depends on clean water, coastal communities that farm bivalve shellfish are highly committed to protecting water quality – which can help create the political will needed to improve sewage treatment plants and local septic systems.

The key environmental and social issues related to bivalve production are:

  • Ecosystem integrity: Habitat interactions and ecological community structure modifications
  • Genetics: Gene transfer to wild populations, inbreeding and escapes
  • Biosecurity: Deliberate or inadvertent introduction of new exotic species, pests, and pathogens
  • Disease and pest management
  • Farm maintenance: Management and disposal of debris, chemicals and organic waste; processing of wastes; treatment of effluent; and maintenance of equipment
  • Multi-user cooperation: Location, development and aesthetics of aquaculture sites; and public access to them

The first bivalve Dialogue meeting was in August 2004. The Dialogue was then put on hold due to funding delays and reinitiated in October 2007.

The Dialogue has convened six meetings in North America, one in Europe and one in New Zealand. A workshop was held in China last August to incorporate stakeholders from Asia in the process.

Related article:

- Bivalve aquaculture standards nearing completion

By Natalia Real
[email protected]
www.fis.com

Photo Courtesy of FIS Member  WWF Norway
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