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FAO partnership nets award for work on shrimp farming

GLOBAL - A collaborative effort by FAO and a group of partner organizations to make shrimp farming more environmentally friendly has received the World Bank's 2006 "Green Award."


The award is presented each year by the bank to projects which help developing countries green up their economic development programs and guide the bank's efforts to fund development that is environmentally sustainable.

The group, the Consortium on Shrimp Farming and the Environment, is composed of FAO, the Network for Aquaculture Centres for the Asia Pacific, WWF, the UN Environmental Programme and the bank itself. It was established in 1999 to investigate key issues related to shrimp aquaculture, encourage policy debates in order to forge consensus among stakeholders regarding how to best deal with those issues, and make recommendations regarding better management practices for shrimp farms. The consortium also pays special attention to poverty, labor and equity issues as well as environmental considerations.

Shrimp farming has been often criticized for its negative environmental impacts in poor coastal regions of Asia and Latin America. Yet shrimp is the most valuable fish product traded internationally, with over US$11 billion of exports per year, and so represents a major source of jobs, tax revenues and foreign interest earnings for developing nations -- which produce 99 percent of the world's farmed shrimp.

In poor coastal areas shrimp aquaculture plays a particularly important role in alleviating poverty and reducing rural hunger.

In depth studies, guiding principles

Over the past five years the consortium has undertaken a series of extensive series of consultations with fisher farmers, local communities, governmental officials, business leaders, biologists and others around the world in order to analyze their experiences with shrimp farming and better understand where -- and why -- problems occur and how they can be dealt with.

This work fed into the development of 35 in-depth case studies, involving over 100 different world experts and looking at shrimp farming practices in 20 different countries.

Drawing on those studies and consultations, in August 2006 the consortium then produced a set of guiding principles for responsible shrimp farm management, the first-ever attempt to provide an overarching framework for improving the sustainability of the industry.

The principles touch on a number of environment-related issues, including the design and siting of farms, the use of feed, and the social impacts of aquaculture on local communities.

In September 2006 they were presented to FAO's Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, where they were welcomed by the 50+ countries which make up that international body.

TheFishSite News Desk