Bivalve standards nearing finalization
The Bivalve Aquaculture Dialogue kicked off its last public comment period for its draft standards, the World Wildlife Fund announced on Monday. The deadline is 1 April.
Feedback received during the 60-day comment period will be used by the Dialogue’s 14-member steering committee to finalize the standards in the first quarter of 2010. The committee has received input from 400-plus stakeholders since the Dialogue began in 2007, and 70 stakeholders provided feedback during the first comment period.
The Bivalve Aquaculture Dialogue comprises clams, oysters, mussels and scallops. The standards are designed to minimize the key environmental and social impacts associated with farming these species so production may grow in a sustainable manner.
“We have heard from a lot of people already and have used their input to make the document stronger,” said WWF’s Colin Brannen, who coordinates the Dialogue. “In this last stage, we want as many people as possible to weigh in so that the final standards are as practical and effective as possible.”
Changes to the draft standards so far include making them more accessible to small-scale farmers and mandating more stringent restrictions on chemical use.
“It was important to strengthen the standards related to chemical use because the vast majority of people who provided feedback said that the original standards were incompatible with an eco-label for sustainable bivalve aquaculture,” said Tom Pickerell, director of the Shellfish Association of Great Britain and a steering committee member.
Standards for salmon, shrimp, freshwater trout, pangasius, abalone and seriola and cobia are due to be finalized this year. Standards for tilapia were finalized in December.
Last week, Jose Villalon, director of the World Wildlife Fund’s aquaculture program in Washington, D.C., talked to SeafoodSource about why 2010 is such a pivotal year for Aquaculture Dialogues, which WWF initiated in 2004. Check out part one and part two of the interview.