WWF Launches Aquaculture Stewardship Council
The World Wildlife Fund has embarked on its next phase for sustainable aquaculture standards.
The organization announced today it will co-found the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) and eventually take possession of the global standards for responsible seafood farming being developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues.
The ASC is modeled after the Marine Stewardship Council and will be responsible for hiring independent, third-party auditors to certify farms comply with the standards.
The WWF is funding the development of a business plan for the ASC, which is expected to be in operation within two years.
"This investment aligns perfectly with WWF's goal of protecting the world's oceans and coastal habitats while providing innovative paths for feeding the world more efficiently and sustainably," said Carter Roberts, WWF-U.S. president. "With a credible entity in place for certifying farmed seafood, the seafood industry can continue to grow but in a way that is environmentally responsible."
More than 2,000 farmers, conservationists, government officials and others participate in the Aquaculture Dialogue meetings, ensuring transparency and creating measurable, performance-based aquaculture standards, according to WWF.
Over the next year, draft standards for nine species will be completed, including salmon, shrimp, trout, pangasius, abalone, mussels, clams, oysters and scallops. Draft standards for tilapia were posted for public comment in September 2008 and are expected to be completed this spring.