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Abalone Aquaculture Dialogue to Meet in Thailand in July

Steering Committee Selection and Indicators Development Top the Agenda

WASHINGTON, DC: The Abalone Aquaculture Dialogue will convene its next meeting in Pattaya, Thailand to encourage producers, conservationists, scientists and others to provide input on the development of global standards for the abalone farming industry – an industry that produces almost 70 percent of the abalone consumed worldwide.

A key agenda item for the July 25 meeting will be creating the steering committee that will manage the Dialogue. The Dialogue is organized, but not managed, by World Wildlife Fund (WWF). Steering committee members will make all final decisions about the Dialogue process and standards, using input received from stakeholders and technical experts at Dialogue meetings as well as during the public comment periods that will be held near the end of the standards-development process.

Meeting participants also will begin to develop the indicators that will be the foundation for the final standards, which will be metrics- and performance-based. An indicator is what to measure (e.g., chemical use and biological waste) in order to determine the extent of an impact. The eight key impacts – all related to the environment and society – that will be addressed by the standards were chosen by participants at the inaugural meeting of the Dialogue in April 2008.

This will be the third meeting of the Dialogue.  Other meetings have been held in Australia and South Africa. The main goals of those meetings were creating the principles for addressing each impact and identifying criteria, which are specific areas to focus on in order to reduce the impacts of abalone farming. For example, participants identified disease, broodstock/seed procurement, and the translocation of exotics as key criteria in addressing biosecurity issues. 

“We have made a tremendous amount of progress in the Dialogue and expect to keep the momentum going at the July meeting,” said WWF Program Officer Colin Brannen, who coordinates the Dialogue. “The high level of engagement so far is a clear indication of the need for credible standards for the industry.”

This is one of eight Dialogues coordinated by WWF to develop standards for certifying aquaculture products. Other Dialogues underway are for salmon, shrimp, freshwater trout, tilapia, bi-valve shellfish, Seriola/cobia and pangasius. For more information about the Dialogues, go to www.worldwildlife.org/aquadialogues.

The meeting will be held in conjunction with the 7th International Abalone Symposium, where there will be a workshop about the abalone Dialogue. To attend the Dialogue meeting in Thailand, contact Colin Brannen at colin.brannen@wwfus.org or +1 (202) 495-4534 by July 1.