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WWF discusses Aquaculture Impacts

Media Release
18 April 2008

WWF discusses Aquaculture Impacts as part of worldwide dialogue

On Thursday and Friday of this week Aquaculture New Zealand is hosting the New Zealand round of the WWF Aquaculture Dialogues.

Initiated in 2004, the WWF Aquaculture Dialogues have been have been held throughout the world. Involving a wide range of stakeholders within each country’s industry they have sought to establish a set of standards that can be used at a future date as the basis of an environmental certification programme.

Aquaculture is the fastest growing food production system in the world as the need for readily available protein food sources increases in tandem with the earth’s growing population. As the industry grows there is a need to ensure the growth is managed positively and sustainably.

WWF has undertaken to develop through consultation an international consensus on the management of the key environmental, economic and social impacts of the industry throughout the world.

Recognised as a world player in the farming of shellfish it is New Zealand’s turn to contribute to the development of these standards. Over the two days an invited group of stakeholders, with the guidance of WWF International, will identify the impacts of the industry. The output of the dialogues will be then made available for comment.

It is an iterative process to ensure the identified impacts reflect the actual occurrence within the New Zealand environment. It is only when the true nature of the impacts are identified can a series of relevant standards be formulated.

“This process is by no means a ‘quick-fix’. It has to stand the test of time and be applied internationally. It is essential once the initial steering group has delivered its first round of findings the industry is invited to, and takes part”, said Mike Burrell, Aquaculture New Zealand Chief Executive.

“It is in New Zealand’s interest to play a role in the dialogue process. We as an industry pride ourselves on the sustainability and quality of our product. Through this process the industry will gain recognition for its products in the global market through internationally accepted standards.

“Playing a role in the development of an accepted international eco-standard is in the industry’s best interest even if we believe we set the standard now. Export markets and consumers are beginning to demand assurances the products they choose have been produced in an environmentally and economically sustainable manner. Being part of the Dialogues will allow us to play an informed role in the delivery of the outcome”, concluded Mr Burrell.

ENDS

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