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The final step in the process of developing salmon-farming standards under the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue kicked off on Monday.

Feedback received during the 30-day public-comment period — the final public-comment period of the process — will be used by the Dialogue’s nine-person steering committee to finalize the standards in the third quarter of 2011. The standards address the key environmental and social impacts associated with salmon farming while maintaining the economic viability of the industry, according to the World Wildlife Fund, which organized the Dialogue.

The standards-development process has involved more than 500 farmers, conservationists, government officials, academics and other salmon-farming stakeholders. The Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, Marine Harvest, Skretting, Norwegian Seafood Federation, SalmonChile, Pew Environment Group and Coastal Alliance for Aquaculture Reform are among the companies and organizations represented on the steering committee.

Once the standards are finalized, they will be handed off to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to manage. At the European Seafood Exposition earlier this month, the ASC marked the end of its development phase and the beginning of its operational phase. The group will work with independent, third-party entities to certify farms in compliance with the standards.


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