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Draft Standards for Pangasius Aquaculture to be Rolled Out in December

Second set of Standards from Aquaculture Dialogues

WASHINGTON, DC: The world’s first set of measurable, performance-based standards for responsible pangasius farming will be presented at the next meeting of the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue, to be held December 3-4 at Can Tho University in Vietnam. The standards, when adopted, will help minimize the main environmental and social issues associated with pangasius farming.

The drafts standards are the product of the Dialogue’s technical working groups that have been meeting since this spring. They are using their expertise, as well as input from stakeholders who have and have not attended previous Dialogue meetings, to develop the standards. The first draft of the standards will be finalized, based on feedback at the December meeting, and then posted on the Dialogue website for public comment.

“The pangasius Dialogue is a unique platform that gives everybody willing to contribute to the development of standards an opportunity to do so,” said World Wildlife Fund (WWF) Senior Aquaculture Advisor Dr. Flavio Corsin, who coordinates the Dialogue. “I encourage stakeholders to express their views at the upcoming meeting or during the public comment period so that we end up with standards that can help transform the aquaculture industry.”

The Dialogue includes producers, processors, exporters, retailers, input suppliers, government officials, academics, NGO representatives and others interested in pangasius farming. One of the groups represented, WWF, coordinates the Dialogue on behalf of the Dialogue’s Process Facilitation Group (PFG). The PFG manages the Dialogue process.

This will be the third meeting of the Dialogue since the group was created in September 2007. At previous meetings, participants agreed on the eight main environmental and social issues, such as water pollution and health management, related to the farming of tra and basa – the two key pangasius species. They also created the principles (i.e., high level goals) to address each issue.

The pangasius Dialogue is one of seven WWF-initiated Dialogues underway globally. Standards also are being developed for salmon, trout, tilapia, shrimp, abalone and four types of bivalve shellfish. Draft standards for tilapia farming were released in September for public comment and are expected to be finalized in March 2009.

Standards created by the Dialogues will be given to a new or existing standards-setting organization that will use independent third-party certification bodies to audit the farms.

If you would like to attend the next pangasius Dialogue meeting, contact Flavio Corsin by November 25th at flavio.corsin@gmail.com. For more information about the Dialogue, go to www.worldwildlife.org/pangasiusdialogue.