WASHINGTON, DC, February 12, 2013 - Today, the Freshwater Trout Aquaculture Dialogue announced the completion of global standards for freshwater trout farming. Having completed a comprehensive multi-stakeholder process that sought innovative approaches to addressing the industry's environmental and social impacts, these standards will help ensure responsible production of freshwater trout. The Dialogue is handing over the standards to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC), which will oversee certification of farms.
"As demand for farmed seafood increases on a finite planet with limited resources, food production systems have to change, including improvement in the aquaculture industry," said Jason Clay, Senior Vice President of Market Transformation at World Wildlife Fund (WWF), who helped to initiate the Dialogue. "Central to WWF's commitment to conserve biodiversity is to support a collective approach to reduce the impact of the seafood production on the world's most ecologically important regions."
The new standards are intended to address the key negative environmental and social impacts associated with freshwater trout farming and allow for the economic viability of the aquaculture industry, which has grown by more than 50% by volume since 2000. Impacts addressed through the standards include water use, escapes, discharges, habitat conversion, fish health/disease transfer, sourcing of feed ingredients, energy efficiency, predator control and labor conditions.
The standards-development process began in 2008 and has included a diverse representation of farmers, conservationists, scientists, seafood buyers, government officials, and other freshwater trout farming stakeholders.
"To reach the final agreement has been a long and complicated process, where it has been necessary for all parties to make compromises. However, we have throughout the process felt a tremendous responsibility to come up with a solution, which will allow us to continue to develop our industry in a sustainable manner," said Niels Alsted from BioMar Group, who is a member of the steering committee. "We believe the new standard will contribute to protect scarce resources and to create a healthy business for all stakeholders in the aquaculture value chain."
The Steering Committee has handed over the final standards and audit manual to the ASC. The ASC will oversee field-testing the standards and audit manual. The ASC will be responsible for working with independent, third-party entities to certify farms that are in compliance with the standards being developed by participants of the eight Aquaculture Dialogues.
The Steering Committee that manages the Freshwater Trout Dialogue is composed of individuals from both conservation and industry sectors and includes representatives from Biomar, British Trout Association/FEAP, FishWise, LIMAN, North Sea Foundation, Societa Agricola Troticoltura F. lli Leonardi S.S.,Universitá dell'Insubria, and WWF.
ABOUT WORLD WILDLIFE FUND
World Wildlife Fund is the world's largest conservation organization, working in 100 countries for half a century. With the support of almost five million members worldwide, WWF is dedicated to delivering science-based solutions to preserve the diversity and abundance of life on Earth, stop the degradation of the environment and combat climate change. Visit www.worldwildlife.org to learn more.