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New Guidelines on Shrimp Farming

INDIA - The third meeting of the FAO sub committee on aquaculture held in India last week, welcomed a series of non-binding international principles for responsible shrimp farming which were formulated during its five day session, reports the Press Information Bureau, India.

New Guidelines on Shrimp Farming - INDIA - The third meeting of the FAO sub committee on aquaculture held in India last week, welcomed a series of non-binding international principles for responsible shrimp farming which were formulated during its five day session, reports the Press Information Bureau, India. Shrimp farming is often criticized for its unhealthy environmental impacts. But millions of small-scale producers in the worlds poorest countries, who produce 99 percent of the worlds farmed shrimp, depend on it for their livelihood.

Though not slated for formal adoption by national delegations participating in the 3rd meeting of the FAO Sub-Committee on Aquaculture, there was general consensus on accepting the principles as a global point of reference for aquaculture policy and development. The guidelines encompass a number of environment related issues including location of farms and their design, the use of resources like water and feed as well as the social impacts of aquaculture on local communities.

Drawn up in a five-year consultative process involving several partner organizations, including the Network for Aquaculture Centres for the Asia Pacific, WWF, the World Bank and the UN Environmental Programme, the new principles form the first-ever attempt to provide an international framework for improving the sustainability of the shrimp farming industry. We hope that these new principles will help pave the way for a more common vision of how we should define responsible shrimp farming, globally. They can also serve as a point of reference for governments, non-governmental organizations and private industry who are developing systems to certify farm-raised shrimp as eco-friendly or sustainable, or who are looking to harmonize systems that are already in place, said Rohana Subasinghe, a senior aquaculture expert at FAO and Secretary of the Sub-Committee.

Countries participating in the Sub-Committee also made a number of other recommendations to FAO that will now drive the agencys work on aquaculture over the

next two years. These include holding meetings of experts to review the various certification systems currently being used for farmed shrimp and other aquaculture products, analyse their comparative benefits, and explore their possible harmonization. They also asked the Organization to come up with new statistical indicators to improve measure the social and economic impacts of fish farming.

Shrimp is the most valuable fish product traded internationally, with over US dollar 11 billion of exports per year, and represents a major source of employment, tax revenues and foreign interest earnings for developing nations, which produce 99 percent of the worlds farmed shrimp. At the same time, shrimp farming has been criticized for polluting coastal waters, destroying mangrove ecosystems and spreading diseases and invasive alien species. Yet just around 13 percent of aquaculture comes from large-scale, export-oriented 'industrial aquaculture' operations involving species like shrimp or salmon.

Shrimp exports from the developing world is about US dollar 8.7 billion a year.

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