Abalone Aquaculture Dialogue Now Underway
The process of developing certification standards for farmed abalone is underway as part of the World Wildlife Fund's Aquaculture Dialogues, the Washington, D.C.-based conservation organization announced today.
The dialogues are designed to create measurable, performance-based certification standards that minimize or eliminate the key environmental and social impacts of farming seafood.
Currently, six dialogues are underway - salmon, tilapia, pangasius, shrimp, mollusks and abalone; two others - trout and seaweed - are due to commence later this year.
The Abalone Aquaculture Dialogue first met in Australia last month to identify the key impacts of abalone farming, including the effects on biosecurity, genetics and the ecosystem. Abalone producers, retailers, NGOs, academics and government officials are all participating in the dialogue.
"We recognize that environmental sustainability is critical to future rural growth and prosperity through aquaculture," says Dr. Ann Fleming of the Australian Abalone Growers Association.
About 70 percent of the abalone consumed worldwide is farmed. Abalone aquaculture began in Japan and China in the late 1950s, and now more than 80 percent of farmed abalone originates from China. The mollusk is also raised in South Korea, South Africa, Taiwan, Australia, Chile and the United States.
"Although abalone are a type of mollusk, the biological requirements and cultivation techniques used to grow the species differ significantly from filter-feeding bivalve shellfish," says Jose Villalon, director of the WWF-U.S. aquaculture program. "We have initiated an abalone-specific dialogue to address the unique challenges posed by this type of aquaculture."