Draft standards to improve the environmental and social sustainability of the salmon aquaculture industry were released today for the first of two public comment periods.
They are the product of the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue, a 500-person roundtable that includes salmon aquaculture industry leaders, scientists and representatives from non-governmental organisations.
The salmon Dialogue seeks to minimise or eliminate the key negative impacts associated with salmon aquaculture, such as sea lice spreading from salmon farms, escaped farmed salmon interbreeding with wild salmon populations, and conflicts within communities regarding shared coastal resources. Salmon aquaculture is responsible for producing two-thirds of the salmon consumed worldwide. The remaining salmon is wild-caught.
The standards, which are expected to be finalised in approximately six months, will be the first global standards for salmon aquaculture created through an open, transparent process that is aligned with the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance’s renowned guidelines for creating standards. The process encourages input from a broad and diverse group of people and ensures that their ideas will be considered by the full Dialogue.
“We’ve come a long way and are excited about the progress that has been made in creating the standards,” said Petter Arnesen of Marine Harvest, a member of the nine-person Steering Committee that manages the Dialogue process. “The Steering Committee is eager to get feedback during this comment period that will help us revise the standards and wrap up the process.”
The first comment period will end on October 3, 2010. The second comment period will begin approximately two months later.
Once finalised, the standards will be amended periodically to reflect changes in science and technology, as well as to encourage innovation and continuous improvement. These revisions will be coordinated by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), the entity that will manage the standards, and the process will include many of the Dialogue participants.
For more information about the salmon Dialogue and to provide feedback during the public comment period, go to www.worldwildlife.org/salmondialogue.