Over the years, the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) has conducted several efforts towards the sustainability of the aquaculture sector. In addition to being one of the partners in the Consortium on Shrimp Farming and the Environment, WWF is hosting aquaculture dialogues to identify the most significant impacts, criteria, indicators and standards for the certification of sustainable aquaculture. Dialogues have been initiated for a wide range of aquaculture commodities traded globally (including salmon, trout, shrimp, tilapia, catfish, Pangasius, bivalves, seaweed and others). Standards, which are said to be developed in compliance with the ISEAL Code of Good Practice and the FAO guidelines for aquaculture certification, are expected to be completed between 2007 and 2008. The development of an independent system of certification to hold and assess conformity to the aquaculture dialogue standards is also ongoing, with standards to be hosted either by an existing organization (e.g. the Marine Stewardship Council) or a new body (e.g. the Aquaculture Stewardship Council).79 A number of WWF offices (e.g. Netherlands, Sweden, Hong Kong SAR, Indonesia, South Africa) have also developed guidelines for responsible consumption of fisheries products (including from aquaculture) using a "traffic light approach", i.e. categorizing commodities into green, yellow or red with decreasing degrees of sustainability. The criteria used to classify commodities, however, are often different for different countries and efforts are currently ongoing to harmonize the traffic light approach with the aquaculture dialogue standards being developed.
The Marine Stewardship Council (MSC) is an independent non-profit organization that targets environmentally responsible fisheries. The MSC has developed standards to certify sustainable and well-managed fisheries. In February 2006, Wal-Mart declared its willingness to source all wild-caught fresh and frozen fish for the North American market from MSC-certified fisheries, therefore ensuring market support to the MSC programme. To date, the MSC has been dealing only with the certification of capture fisheries although its future involvement in the certification of sustainable aquaculture commodities cannot be excluded. The MSC's involvement in aquaculture was also explored by WWF in its efforts to identify a suitable host for the standards developed through the aquaculture dialogues.80
The Monterey Bay Aquarium (MBA) is a non-profit organization established in 1984 to inspire the conservation of the oceans. As part of its mission, the MBA established the Seafood Watch programme, which is designed to raise consumer awareness about sustainability issues associated with capture and farming of fisheries commodities. Following well-defined criteria, the MBA divides commodities into three categories using a traffic light approach similar to the one adopted by some WWF offices: green (best choice), yellow, (good alternative) and red (avoid).
A total of 20 of the 158 commodities listed within the Seafood Watch programme are marked as "farmed". The majority (i.e. 14) are listed as best choice, while two (Pangasius and tilapia from Central America) are considered good alternatives and the remaining four (crayfish, salmon, shrimp and tilapia from China) are commodities to be avoided. In agreement with interested retailers in the United States, Sustainable Fisheries Advocates, a non-profit organization founded in 2002, initiated FishWise, a project through which these retailers can have all their fisheries commodities (including aquaculture items) labeled as green-yellow or orange following the Seafood Watch categories.81 The fisheries products labeled by FishWise since 2003 amount to about US$7 million.82
The Environmental Justice Foundation (EJF) is a non-profit organization that targets sustainability through the protection of the environment, human rights and the social needs of communities. To address concerns arising from shrimp farming, the EJF has a Draft Protocol for Sustainable Shrimp Production and a Consumer Guide to Prawns.
The Federation of European Aquaculture Producers (FEAP) is an association of producers currently composed of 28 National Aquaculture Producer Associations from 23 European countries and representing production of almost 1.5 million tonnes of finfish products worth more than €3 million (more than US$4 million). In order to increase the sustainability of European aquaculture, in 2000 FEAP adopted a Code of Conduct that was developed by experts and producers in collaboration with a wide range of stakeholders. Among other documents, the code is said to have been developed with specific reference to the FAO CoCRF. The code is expected to serve as the basis for the development of national level codes of practice. Adoption of the code's principles is voluntary although encouraged by FEAP. So far, there is no system to assess compliance to the principles stated in the code.
The Swiss Import Promotion Programme (SIPPO) is mandated by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) to promote exports to Switzerland and the European Union. SIPPO has been collaborating with Naturland, COOP Switzerland and stakeholders in Ecuador, Viet Nam, Bangladesh and other countries to help shrimp farmers obtain Naturland organic certification. Although strictly speaking SIPPO is not a standard-setting organization, in 2002 it produced the "International Standards for Organic Aquaculture: Production of Shrimp". These standards are said to be based on the Naturland standards and do not appear to differ significantly from them. They would seem to be the only standards produced by SIPPO and do not appear to have links to any system of farm auditing and certification.
79 Jason Clay, WWF US, personal communication.
80 Jason Clay, WWF US, personal communication.
82 Tobias Aguirre, FishWise, personal communication.