Tilapia sustainability standards finalized


SeafoodSource staff

Published on
December 16, 2009

The Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue’s standards for sustainable tilapia farming have been finalized, the World Wildlife Fund announced on Thursday.

The tilapia standards are the first set of standards to be completed via the Aquaculture Dialogues, which is coordinated by the WWF.

The standards are designed to minimize the key environmental and social impacts associated with farming tilapia so production may grow in a sustainable manner. More than 50 stakeholders provided feedback to the draft standards.

Over the past five years, the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue has involved more than 200 participants, including producers, conservationists and scientists. The steering committee that managed the process included representatives from Regal Springs TradingRain Forest Aquaculture, Aquamar, Sustainable Fisheries Partnership and New England Aquarium.

“The end result of this process is a product our customers can be proud of because they know it is based on the best input from scientists, producers and NGOs,” said committee member Mike Picchietti of Regal Springs. “And the timing of it is perfect because the standards will allow the tilapia industry to grow without having a negative impact on the environment and society.”

According to the WWF, certification costs will be low compared to other programs because the standards focus on reducing a set number of key impacts, making it easier for small- and large-scale producers to adopt the standards.

The Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which will be in operation by 2011, will be responsible for working with independent, third-party entities to certify fish farms. In the meantime, this role will be filled by GlobalGAP, which is expected to begin offering certification to tilapia producers by early 2010.

Last month, the WWF announced that the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue reached the final public comment stage before the draft standards are completed.

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