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Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue Enters Final Stage

WASHINGTON, DC, JANUARY 19, 2012 - The Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue today released the final draft of its global standards for certifying farmed trout.  These standards will help farmers eliminate or minimize the key negative environmental and social impacts related to trout farming.

The standards will be finalized and then handed over to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) after a guidance manual for auditing trout farms is completed over the next few months.

“We are excited that this process is nearing an end and trout farms can soon begin to be certified,” said Jose Villalon, managing director of the Aquaculture Program for World Wildlife Fund US and a member of the Dialogue’s Steering Committee.

The vast majority of freshwater trout consumed today is farmed. The standards address key impact areas of trout farming, including water use, effluent discharges, feed stocks and disease management. The standards cover the range of production systems, including flow-through raceways, recirculating systems, and cages in lakes.

The Dialogue used a transparent, multi-stakeholder process to create the standards. More than 300 people – including producers, NGO representatives, researchers and government officials – participated in the Dialogue. Many attended Dialogue meetings that were held in Denmark, the Faroe Islands, Spain and Italy, or outreach workshops in Poland, Turkey and other locations. Two public comment periods on earlier drafts of the standards resulted in dozens of submissions.

Development of the standards was overseen by the Dialogue’s eight-person Steering Committee, which considered all of the input received at meetings and during the comment periods.

“The industry welcomes the development of standards that help us demonstrate our responsible production of freshwater trout, while seeking to minimize any negative social or environmental impacts,” said David Bassett of the Federation of European Aquaculture Producers and a member of the Dialogue’s Steering Committee.  

This will be the fifth set of standards finalized by the Aquaculture Dialogues, a series of roundtables coordinated by WWF. Standards for tilapia, Pangasius, bivalves and abalone were completed in 2009 and 2010. Final standards for salmon, shrimp, and Seriola/cobia are scheduled for release later this year.

All of the final Aquaculture Dialogue standards are handed over to an independent organization, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). The ASC will ensure farms are certified against the standards through independent third party certification bodies that are accredited by Accreditation Services International and follow ISEAL guidelines.

For more information about the Aquaculture Dialogues, please visit http://www.worldwildlife.org/aquadialogues.