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Development of Standards for Shrimp Farming in East Africa and Central America/Mexico Moving Forward

WASHINGTON, DC: Criteria and indicators that will be used to create standards for responsible shrimp farming are under development for the shrimp industries in East Africa and Central America/Mexico.

The goal of the next meeting of the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue, which will be June 3-4 in Madagascar, will be to develop draft criteria and indicators for East Africa’s farmed shrimp industry.

A first draft of criteria and indicators for the Central America/Mexico region was developed in Belize April 1-2, at the inaugural meeting of the Dialogue in that region. The Steering Committee created at the meeting to drive the Dialogue process for Central America/Mexico will meet over the next few months to fine tune the draft and ensure that all comments made during the meeting are addressed. 

“Farmers are at this meeting because they are interested in farming for the long haul,” said Belize shrimp farmer Alvin Henderson, one of 60 participants at the April meeting. “They are anticipating some type of economic upside from the Dialogue process, while also protecting the environment. The chance for us all to be in the same room to address these challenges is great.”

The standards developed by the Dialogue will be measurable and performance-based. They will be designed to help reduce or eliminate the key environmental and social impacts related to shrimp aquaculture.

“The standards will be science-based, not aspirational,” said Jose Villalon, director of the WWF Aquaculture Program, which coordinates the Dialogue. “If the science is current and accurate, we will see change on the water when the standards are adopted. That change, ultimately, is the goal of the Dialogue.”

If you are interested in participating in the shrimp Dialogue, contact Eric Bernard at  For additional information about the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue and all of the WWF Dialogues, go to

Notes to Editor:

  • The Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue is one of five WWF-initiated Dialogues underway globally. Standards also are being developed for salmon, tilapia, pangasius and molluscs. Dialogues for seaweed, trout and abalone will begin later this year.
  • The standards development for shrimp farming is based on the “International Principles for Shrimp Farming” that were adopted in 2006 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations. The principles were written by the Shrimp Farming and Environment Consortium, a group that includes Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations, World Bank, Network of Aquaculture Centres of Asia-Pacific, the United Nations Environmental Program and WWF.
  • Criteria are things to focus on (e.g., effluents) to reduce an impact from aquaculture. Six key environmental and social impacts related to shrimp farming have been identified.
  • Indicators are the measurements that will be used to determine the extent of an impact (e.g., nitrogen concentration in effluent).
  • Standards will be measurable performance levels to use to evaluate whether an impact is reduced.


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