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The new standards will deal with the negative environmental and social impacts of salmon farms. (Photo: WWF-Canon/Jo Benn.2010 WWF)

Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue finalises global standards

WORLDWIDE
Thursday, June 14, 2012, 23:50 (GMT + 9)

The Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue this week announced the completion of global standards for salmon farming. The standards will be given to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to oversee the certification of farms.

“We are faced with the challenge of feeding 7 billion people on a finite planet with limited resources. To succeed, food production systems have to change, including improvement in the salmon aquaculture industry,” said Jason Clay, Senior VP of Market Transformation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who helped to initiate the Dialogue.

“Engaging with multiple stakeholders to develop environmental and social standards and voluntary certification schemes for a range of commodities is at the core of WWF’s work to transform markets and, ultimately, conserve the world’s biodiversity,” he continued.

The new standards were designed to tackle the main negative environmental and social impacts of salmon farming while making room for the industry to continue to flourish -- it has grown by more than 50 per cent by volume since 2000. The standards address issues such as water pollution, sourcing of feed ingredients, disease transmission between farmed and wild salmon and labour issues.

Worker on farm standing next to salmon feed, Norway. (Photo: WWF-Canon/Jo Benn)

The standards are also intended to be a starting point for ongoing improvement and to be reviewed periodically in order for them to stay updated with the best available scientific knowledge, management practices and technologies, and the data gathered during the certification of farms. The standards mandate a high level of transparency around farm-level data and monitoring.

“The standards will challenge the industry to improve in many areas, and they are one of many tools that must be used to ensure the health of the environment, industry and society,” said Hernan Frigolett from Fundación Terram and a Dialogue Steering Committee member.

Petter Arnesen from Marine Harvest, who is a member of the Dialogue’s Steering Committee, called the final standards an extraordinary accomplishment and noted that they require an unprecedented amount of transparency on the side of industry.

“Implementing the standards will therefore provide useful documentation on current environmental and social status of salmon farms and the efficacy of the standards,” Arnesen stated.

The standards-development process began in 2004 and has taken into account the input of more than 500 farmers, conservationists, scientists, seafood buyers, government officials, Aboriginal people and other stakeholders.

The ASC will oversee field-testing and finalisation of the audit manual, as well as being responsible for working with independent, third-party entities to certify farms that comply with the standards developed by participants of the eight Aquaculture Dialogues.

The Steering Committee that manages the salmon Dialogue is made up of individuals from both conservation and industry sectors and includes representatives from Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance (CAIA), Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform (CAAR), Fundación Terram, Marine Harvest, Norwegian Seafood Federation (FHL), Pew Environment Group, SalmonChile, Skretting, and WWF.

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


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