Aquaculture dialogue finalizes salmon standards

The salmon-farming standards developed by the Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue have been finalized, eight years after the standards development process began, the World Wildlife Fund announced on Wednesday.

The final standards will now be handed over to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) to manage and to oversee certification of salmon farms.

The standards address the key environmental and social impacts associated with salmon farming — including water pollution, sourcing of feed ingredients, disease transmission between farmed and wild salmon and labor issues on farms — while maintaining the economic viability of the industry, according to the WWF, which organized the dialogue. Globally, farmed salmon production has grown more than 50 percent since 2000, said the WWF.

The standards development process involved more than 500 farmers, conservationists, scientists, seafood buyers, government officials, aboriginal people and other salmon-farming stakeholders.

“The final standards represent an extraordinary accomplishment, and sets a new and unprecedented standard for responsible farmed salmon production,” said Petter Arnesen of Marine Harvest and a member of the dialogue’s steering committee. “I look forward to seeing the results of their implementation and hope that retailers and customers will value the efforts of farms that choose to work towards certification. As an industry we are often challenged on lack of transparency. Implementing the standards will therefore provide useful documentation on current environmental and social status of salmon farms and the efficiency of the standards.”

In addition to Marine Harvest, Skretting, Canadian Aquaculture Industry Alliance, Norwegian Seafood Federation, SalmonChile and Pew Environment Group participated in the dialogue.

In March, the ASC launched its first standard into the market with the opening of the accreditation process for tilapia. Standards for tilapia were finalized in December 2009, while standards for pangasius and bivalves were completed in August 2010 and abalone in October 2011. Standards for a few more groups of species, including shrimp, are still being developed but a due for release this year.


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