New comment period begins for global aquaculture draft standards

Published on: Aug 21, 2013

The second draft version of the global seriola and cobia aquaculture standards is now available for public comment, according to the World Wildlife Fund (WWF). The standards are designed to minimize the potentially negative impact seriola (also known as amberjack) and cobia aquaculture can have on the environment, farm workers and communities, the announcement said.

The draft standards are the product of a WWF-coordinated roundtable that includes producers, conservationists, scientists and other leaders from across the supply chain. This second and final public comment period concludes Oct. 19 and will inform the final standards, which are expected by the end of the year.

"The seriola and cobia aquaculture industries are poised to experience significant growth in the years to come, particularly in Southeast Asia," said Jason Clay, senior vice president of market transformation for WWF. "Input from a diverse range of interests — including a very successful and well-attended stakeholder meeting with producers in Japan — will help make sure these industries meet rising demand in a way that minimizes potential negative environmental impacts."

The Seriola & Cobia Aquaculture Dialogue Steering Committee that manages the process will use feedback from both public comment periods, along with input collected from an upcoming public dialogue meeting in Japan, to revise the standards. This process is in line with international guidelines for standard setting created by the International Social & Environmental Accreditation & Labeling (ISEAL) Alliance.

When finalized, the seriola and cobia standards will be the seventh set of standards developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues. Standards have been finalized for pangasius, tilapia, abalone, bivalves, salmon and freshwater trout. Standards for shrimp are also expected to be finalized later this year.

The standards will be reviewed and amended, as needed, to take into account new technology and science. This process is coordinated by the Aquaculture Stewardship Council, an independent not-for-profit organization dedicated to creating measurable and performance-based standards for responsible aquaculture.

The revised seriola and cobia standards can be found at www.worldwildlife.org/SeriolaCobiastandards. Comments must be sent to merrielle.macleod@wwfus.org no later than 11:59 p.m. EDT Oct. 19.