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Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue Expands its Reach

Meetings planned this fall for Southeast Asia and the Americas Region

WASHINGTON, DC: The world’s shrimp aquaculture industry leaders and other stakeholders will meet in South America and Southeast Asia this fall to develop standards for shrimp farming that has a minimal impact on the environment and society.

The World Wildlife Fund (WWF)-initiated Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue will hold its second meeting in the Americas region October 9-10 and first meeting in Southeast Asia in November. These are two of the three regions that are the focus of the Dialogue, which was created last year. East Africa, where two Dialogue meetings have been held, also is a priority region.

“The standards will not be credible without input from people in Southeast Asia and the Americas, given that those are two of the world’s most important shrimp farming regions,” said Jose Villalon, director of the WWF-US Aquaculture Program. “We are excited about working with them to build consensus on what will be the world’s most robust standards for shrimp.”

At both fall meetings, participants will work on creating the criteria to focus on in order to reduce each of the key environmental and social impacts related to shrimp farming. They then will create indicators, or points of measurement to determine the extent of each impact. They will build off of draft criteria and indicators discussed at previous Dialogue meetings, as well as the “International Principles for Responsible Shrimp Farming” adopted in 2006 by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations.

The principles, criteria and indicators will be the foundation for the final standards, which will be measurable, performance-based and designed to minimize the environmental and social impacts that cause 70-80 percent of the problems associated with shrimp farming.

The October meeting will be in Guayaquil, Ecuador in conjunction with AQUA 2008.

“AQUA 2008 will, for the first time, highlight the shrimp Dialogue,” said Samuel Stern, director general of National Aquaculture and Marine Research Center, one of the organizers of the conference. “This is a benchmark event, as Aqua 2008 will provide an excellent platform for stakeholders from academia and the private sector to voice their opinions and positions in an atmosphere of constructive cooperation and purpose.”

The inaugural meeting for the Asia region, where approximately 88 percent the world’s farmed shrimp is produced, will be in Bangkok in November (exact date to be determined).

The Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue is one of six WWF-initiated Dialogues underway globally. Standards also are being developed for salmon, tilapia, pangasius, abalone and molluscs (clams, scallops, oysters and mussels).

People interested in attending either meeting this fall should contact shrimp Dialogue coordinator Eric Bernard at ebernard@wwf.fr. For more information about the Dialogue, go to www.worldwildlife.org/shrimpdialogue.