The standards will help minimize the eight key environmental and social impacts associated with abalone production.
Also at the meeting, participants will identify people to serve on the steering committee that will manage the Dialogue process. World Wildlife Fund (WWF) coordinates the Dialogue but has an equal voice in the roundtable discussions.
"I look forward to a time when abalone farms throughout the world subscribe to a single set of international standards"
Professor Peter Cook of the University of Western Australia
"Your voice will be heard if you come to the meeting," said WWF Aquaculture Program Officer Colin Brannen. "The steering committee will use input from participants to build consensus on a set of standards that will encourage innovation and increased sustainability in the abalone industry."
This will be the second meeting of the abalone Dialogue. At the inaugural meeting, held in Australia in April, producers, conservationists, academics and other abalone industry stakeholders identified the key impacts associated with abalone farming and agreed on overarching goals (a.k.a., principles) to address those impacts. The impacts discussed relate to biosecurity, genetics and the ecosystem effects of abalone aquaculture.
Dialogue participants also made significant progress in categorizing criteria, which are specific areas to focus on in order to reduce the impacts of abalone farming. For example, participants identified disease, broodstock/seed procurement, and the translocation of exotics as key criteria in addressing biosecurity issues.
At the February meeting, stakeholders will refine the criteria, then begin to develop indicators (what to measure to determine the extent of each impact). The full suite of principles, criteria and indicators will provide the framework for the final standards, which will be measurable, performance-based and grounded in sound science.
"Although the abalone Dialogue is fairly new, it is pleasing to see an emerging acceptance that international standards will, in the long run, be to the benefit of all, including producers," said Professor Peter Cook of the University of Western Australia, who has participated in several WWF Dialogues. "I applaud WWF for initiating the Dialogue process and I look forward to a time when abalone farms throughout the world subscribe to a single set of international standards."
This is one of eight Dialogues coordinated by WWF to develop standards for certifying aquaculture products. Other Dialogues underway are for salmon, shrimp, freshwater trout, tilapia, bi-valve shellfish, Seriola/cobia and pangasius
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