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WWF Meet to Develop Better Shrimp Standards

THAILAND - World aquaculture industry leaders, producers and government officials will meet in Bangkok, Thailand this November to develop standards for shrimp farming in efforts to reduce its negative impacts on the environment and people.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF) initiated Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue will hold its first meeting for the Asian region, in Bangkok on November 17-18. Asia is one of three focal regions for the Dialogue, which was created last year. Africa and the Americas are the others.

"The standards will not be credible without input from people in Asia"
Jose Villalon, director of the WWF-US Aquaculture Program.

In spite of massive improvements in recent years, the shrimp farming industry still suffers from an image problem and from a lack of consistent and widely accepted environmental and social standards. The coming Dialog in Bangkok is part of a worldwide effort to ensure that best practices for shrimp farming become norms.

“The standards will not be credible without input from people in Asia, given that that is where 88 percent of the world’s farmed seafood is produced,” said Jose Villalon, director of the WWF-US Aquaculture Program. “We are excited about working with them to build consensus on what will be the world’s most robust standards for shrimp.”

At the meeting, participants will work to create criteria that reduce key environmental and social impacts related to shrimp farming. They then will set indicators, or points of measurement to determine the extent of each impact. This will build on draft criteria and indicators identified at previous dialogue meetings, as well as the “International Principles for Responsible Shrimp Farming” adopted in 2006 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The principles, criteria and indicators will feed into a set of final global standards, which will be easily measurable, and designed to minimize the environmental and social impacts that cause 70-80 percent of the problems associated with shrimp farming.

The Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue is one of seven WWF-initiated Dialogues underway globally. Standards also are being developed for salmon, trout, tilapia, pangasius, abalone and molluscs (clams, scallops, oysters and mussels).