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Seriola and Cobia, also known as amberjack,yellowtail kampachi, hamachi and hiramasa, are large, carnivorous finfish known for their firm texture and rich flavor. They also are prized by sport fishermen, in part because they can weigh up to 90 pounds.
Most seriola is farmed, mainly in Japan (where the industry started about 50 years ago) and Australia. The seriola aquaculture industry is set for significant growth. Most cobia is caught in the wild by sport fishermen. But the cobia aquaculture industry has started to grow over the past few years, particularly in West Virginia, Puerto Rico and Belize.
Seriola and cobia are usually produced in cages, some close to land and some in the open ocean. Several land-based tank trials also are underway with both fish species. Cobia is usually sold fresh and served in the form of grilled or poached fillets. Seriola is increasingly served raw in sushi.
As with most types of aquaculture species, the farming of cobia and seriola can have a negative impact on the environment and society. To address these impacts, WWF has created the Seriola and Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue. The inaugural meeting of the Dialogue was held February 2009 in Seattle, Washington. Two additional public Dialogue meetings have been held since then: September 2009 in Mexico and February 2013 in Japan. The next public Dialogue meeting will be in October 2013 in Japan.
Over the course of the Dialogue, participants will identify the key environmental and social impacts associated with the farming of four types of seriola (S. rivoliana, S. quinqueradiata, S. dumerilli and S. lalandi) and cobia. They will then create principles for addressing each impact. Next they will develop criteria that will aim to provide direction on how to reduce each impact and the indicators that will address how to measure the extent of each impact. All of this information will be the framework for creating measurable, performance-based standards for the industry. When finalized, the standards will be given to a new organization, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, that will be responsible for working with independent, third party entities to certify farms that are in compliance with the standards.
All Dialogue meetings will be open and transparent. Reports, presentations and other documents related to the Dialogue will be posted on this website. Also posted for public comment will be the draft principles, criteria, indicators and standards for seriola and cobia.