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WWF Cry Out for Sustainable Fish Farms

GLOBE - The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) have responded to a recent UN report, highlighting the need for a sustainability boost in fish and shrimp farms.

State of the World’s Fisheries and Aquaculture 2008 (SOFIA 2008), released yesterday by the UN Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), said that food supplies from aquaculture now equal those from ocean and freshwater capture fisheries.

The report also documents a continuing drop-off in yields from the world's marine capture fisheries, with FAO saying "more closely controlled approaches to fisheries management" are needed.

"The dramatic growth in aquaculture makes it more and more urgent to ensure that aquaculture becomes more sustainable and that supplying the stock and the feed for fish farming becomes less of a burden on traditional fisheries,” said Miguel Jorge, Director of WWF’s Global Marine Programme.

“Coastal aquaculture must also stop making inroads into fish habitat such as mangrove areas, it must becomes less polluting and less of a disease risk and it must be carried out without making communities more vulnerable to natural disasters."

A series of Aquaculture Dialogues, coordinated by WWF and involving more than 2,000 farmers, NGOs and scientists are currently creating global standards to minimize the key environmental and social impacts associated with aquaculture.

Consideration is now being given to whether the standards – initially for the 12 species with the greatest economic and environmental impact – should be administered by a body similar to the Marine Stewardship Council, the leading sustainability certification scheme for marine capture fisheries.

SOFIA 2008 also recorded a rise to 80 per cent in the number of fisheries that are fully or over-exploited, adding yet more weight to predictions that collapsing fish stocks threaten food security in developing countries and the viability of fisheries and coastal communities across the world.

the Fish Site Editor

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