WASHINGTON, DC: The process of creating the world’s first set of credible standards for minimizing the key environmental and social impacts of the cobia and Seriola aquaculture industries will begin in February, when the inaugural meeting of the Seriola and Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue is held.
The world’s leading Seriola and cobia farming experts and stakeholders are expected to attend the open meeting, to be held mid-February in Seattle, Washington in conjunction with the Aquaculture America conference. They will focus on standards for Seriola rivoliana, Seriola lalandi and Seriola quinqueradiata (also known as kampachi, hamachi or hiramasa) and cobia that are farmed in the Americas region.
“There is a pressing need to establish sustainability standards for these species, as they are now poised on the brink of explosive growth,” said Neil Anthony Sims, president of the Ocean Stewards Institute, an open ocean aquaculture trade association. “Criteria that allow individual farms to be evaluated – and rewarded - will encourage producers to aspire to better practices. What is then better for the farmers is also then better for our oceans.”
One of the main goals of the meeting will be to identify the key environmental and social impacts related to the farming of cobia and Seriola species which are grown in cages in the ocean and near shore.
Participants also will create the guiding principles for addressing each impact and develop the criteria that will provide direction on how to reduce each impact. At future meetings, participants will create indicators that will address how to measure the extent of each impact. All of this information will be the framework for creating standards.
“Our marching orders are clear – create measurable and performance-based standards,” said WWF Aquaculture Specialist Dr. Aaron McNevin, who will help coordinate the Dialogue meetings. “What’s most important is to make sure the standards are credible. That won’t happen without an open and transparent dialogue.”
Other agenda items will be creating a steering committee to manage the Dialogue, as well as identifying research that needs to be done to address any areas of disagreement between Dialogue participants and fill information gaps related to this type of aquaculture.
This Dialogue is one of eight WWF-initiated Dialogues underway globally. Standards also are being developed for salmon, tilapia, shrimp, pangasius, trout, abalone and four types of molluscs (clams, scallops, oysters and mussels). For more information about the Dialogues, go to www.worldwildlife.org/aquadialogues