The Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue met in Saint John, New Brunswick, this week to discuss draft standards to improve the environmental and social sustainability of the farmed salmon industry.
Approximately 90 representatives from environmental organizations and First Nations, salmon producers, retailers, fishermen and scientists discussed feedback received during the first comment period for the standards.
Among the key issues discussed were how to ensure that ecosystem health is addressed in a farm-based standard, ensuring the standards are clear and can be audited, and balancing complexity and cost of certification with the need to have meaningful environmental and social measures.
“We’ve come a long way to create the standards,” said Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association. “The committee received a significant amount of relevant comments during the first public comment period. The open discussions around these comments during the dialogue meeting in Saint John will help us revise the standards and wrap up the process.”
After incorporating input from the meeting in Saint John and completing several sections in the document, the draft standards will be posted for the final comment period. The standards are expected to be finalized by mid-2011.
The World Wildlife Fund-organized Aquaculture Dialogues are under way for 12 species including shrimp, trout, tilapia, pangasius, abalone, clams, oysters, mussels, scallops, cobia and seriola. All of the dialogue 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, which will be fully operational in 2011.