The final step in the process of creating global standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture began today – December 1 – when the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue (ShAD) kicked off the last public comment period for the draft standards.
The final standards will address the key environmental and social impacts associated with shrimp farming, an industry that now accounts for one-half of the shrimp eaten globally. Impacts from the industry include water pollution, disease outbreaks, clearing of mangrove forests and disruptions of community livelihoods.
“It is very important that the entire shrimp aquaculture industry, including retailers, farmers and scientists continue to be involved with the development of the standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture so that they can be the most credible ones in the marketplace, and I strongly encourage all industry players to submit their comments”, stated Dialogue Global Steering Committee (GSC) member Dominique Gautier of AquaStar.
Feedback received during this 60-day public comment period will be used by the ShAD’s 14-person GSC to finalise the standards in the first or second quarter of 2011. The standards development process began in 2007 and has included more than 400 producers, conservationists, government officials, academics and other shrimp farming stakeholders.
Significant changes have been made to the ShAD standards as a result of the input received during and after the first public comment period.
The process used by the ShAD and the seven other Aquaculture Dialogues coordinated by WWF is the only one for aquaculture standard-setting that seeks to be in compliance with the International Social and Environmental Accreditation and Labeling Alliance’s (ISEAL) guidelines for creating environmental and social standards.
The standards will also be performance-based and, as much as possible, metrics-based, thereby encouraging innovation at the farm level.
The ShAD standards will be given to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to manage. The ASC will be responsible for working with independent, third-party entities to certify farms that are in compliance with the standards being created by participants of the Aquaculture Dialogues.
To review the draft shrimp standards and provide input, go to www.worldwildlife.org/shrimpdialogue.