Updated Information - Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue "Standards" Create Concern - Your Comments Are Needed
Faulty standards are being readied to hand over to the newly formed Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) sometime after April. We feel the situation is rather urgent, and urge our members and associates to send their own comments stating your concerns about the shrimp standards setting process and its ill-derived standards to Corey Peet, who is the new executive director of the Shrimp Aquaculture "Dialogue."
Last December, MAP's executive director attended a meeting in Trang, Thailand of international, grassroots NGOs coming together to oppose the certification process and standards proposed by the so-called "Shrimp Dialogue" that WWF set in motion around 3 years ago. Our international delegation met for over one week's time discussing the
recently released standards that the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue/General Steering Committee wanted public comment on, and we organized a roundtable discussion between those representing the ShAD/GSC and ourselves. We were called the "Critical Outsiders" by the ShAD/GSC contingent, but we changed this to mean the "Conscientious Objectors" for we felt we were needing to strongly object to this set of fault-ridden standards that were being advertised as representative and fair standards. We strongly disagreed.
There were numerous points of contention with very little agreement reached on many of these standards. After our meeting with the ShAD/GSC, our delegation sent the following letter (see below) to the ShAD/GSC asking for their response. It has been over a month since we submitted our statement, and still there is no response from the ShAD/GSC, with only a vague promise of a response sometime next month. Meanwhile, the ShAD/GSC is preparing to hand these standards over to the newly created Aquaculture Stewardship Council, which again WWF has created to manage their shrimp standards. It would seem there is some serious conflict of interest involved in this whole plan, whereby WWF has set forth on its own predetermined track dragging their allies along the path chosen and calling their dialogue process open and inclusive.
With these faulty standards being readied to hand over to the newly formed Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) sometime after April, we feel the situation is rather urgent, and urge our members and associates to send their own comments stating your concerns about the shrimp standards setting process and its ill-derived standards to Corey Peet, who is the new executive director of the Shrimp
Aquaculture "Dialogue." email@example.com
LETTER FROM COs TO SHAD/GCS
AN OPEN LETTER TO THE GENERAL STEERING COMMITTEE OF THE WWF SHRIMP AQUACULTURE DIALOGUE
4th May, 2011
Dear ShAD /GSC members,
After careful and considered reflection on the draft standards and the whole WWF-ShAD (Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue) process, we the undersigned Conscientious Objectors -- NGOs working with local communities in the shrimp producer-nations and consumers in the shrimp-importing nations -- have unanimously decided that we cannot support the ShAD General Steering Committee (ShAD /GSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council's (ASC)
intentions or actions towards establishing standards for shrimp aquaculture certification. Many others who have added their names and organizational affiliations to our list have also joined us in our protest.
We must therefore continue our course to speak out publicly and campaign against the intent and the process that WWF-ShAD has endeavoured to undertake. The historical record and scientific evidence both indicate that certification will do much harm to both Local Resource Users and the coastal marine environment. The following reasons stand out among many others as indicators that we COs must continue to strongly oppose the ShAD process and the intended ASC and organize a wider resistance against ShAD and other shrimp certification schemes in both Europe and the USA:
1. There has never been involvement nor representation in WWF-ShAD's so-called dialogue process for the majority of stakeholders or, more aptly, the Local Resource Users who are adversely affected by the shrimp industry in producer nations. ShAD's "stakeholders" are overwhelmingly those invested in the growth of the shrimp-export industry.
2. With each revision to the draft, the standards and their evaluation criteria have been progressively and deliberately diluted by the GSC to ensure that at least 20% of the existing shrimp industry can be certified immediately after the Standards are released. The process clearly demonstrates the bias of the ShAD /GSC.
3. The ShAD /GSC has resolutely refrained from undertaking or commissioning serious research to collect meaningful and verifiable inputs and feedback from Local Resource Users in the manner prescribed by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
4. The GSC process for selecting its board members has not been fair from the beginning and is not representative of a transparent and democratic process. As such, the standards overwhelmingly represent industry interests -- for example: the whole of Africa is "represented" on the ShAD /GSC by shrimp industry nominees from Madagascar.
5. Continued lack of proper legislation and enforcement in producer-nations makes adherence to any certification standard unfeasible.
6. ShAD puts too much trust in the industry to monitor and regulate itself. The certification programme depends upon an untried and untested auditing system. Other critical aspects of the process too require a "leap of faith" -- that previously disastrous practices will miraculously reverse their effects once the ShAD standards are released.
7. The ShAD standards continue to perpetuate unsustainable and destructive open-throughput systems of aquaculture -- with a legacy of 400,000 hectares (and counting) of abandoned ponds in producer-nations.
The standards also promote bad practices relating to so-called "mitigation of the effects of mangrove loss".
8. The process conveniently ignores wide-spread community displacement, human rights violations and environmental damage to many thousands of hectares of land by the shrimp industry prior to 1999. Under the present standards, ponds in these regions could be certified. Trends indicate that they will. The ASC becomes, therefore, a confessional for the shrimp industry and will grant indulgences in the form of certification.
9. Export-oriented tropical shrimp production does not contribute towards food security. Food security should not be measured by the weight of export-production or the profit-curve of the industry, but instead by the availability of healthy and sustainable means of local food production for local consumption.
10. There remains the great risk that WWF-ShAD certification, by placing a green stamp on tropical shrimp, will actually expand the demand for farmed tropical shrimp -- both certified and uncertified -- thus promoting the continued (and possibly more rapid) expansion of unsustainable practices.
11. Feed issues are still not satisfactorily resolved and there is still no effective plan to meet increasing feed demands. The projected reliance on GM soy and palm oil is of great concern.
12. The COs had requested a breakdown of development time spent by ShAD in developing their social, environment and technical standards. We have not received this, yet.
13. ShAD /GSC and their offspring in the ASC have still not taken any direct and effective actions to influence consumers in the importing nations to reduce shrimp consumption -- extremely pertinent to the intent and purposes to any attempt at designing a certification program for shrimp.
We reiterate our demands that shrimp farming should not be located within the inter-tidal zone; it should not be allowed to affect productive agricultural lands, or displace members of local communities.
The final draft standards represent an extremely crude attempt at setting up "standards". The process demonstrates a lack of careful thought and consideration of ground realities and concern for Local Resource Users -- people who will suffer the consequences of WWF-ShAD's actions.
The GSC's position that the standards will be released regardless of their merit and consequences leaves little scope for further dialogue.
As such, we the undersigned Conscientious Objectors reject the WWF-ShAD process and its shrimp aquaculture standards.
We reaffirm our support, as always,
For the mangroves and mangrove communities, The Conscientious Objectors
· Pisit Charnsnoh, Yadfon Association, Thailand
· Khushi Kabir, Nijera Kori, Bangladesh
· Riza Damanik, KIARA (Fisheries Justice Coalition), Indonesia
· Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Project
· Maurizio Farhan Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme, UK
· Natasha Ahmad, ASIA Solidarity against Industrial Aquaculture, India
· Gudrun Hubendick, Stockholm Society for Nature Conservation, Sweden
· Don Staniford, Global Alliance against Industrial Aquaculture
· Maria Delgado, ECOTERRA Intl.
· Marieke Mutsaers, Trichilia ABC, Netherlands
· Stanislav Lhota, Univ. of South Bohemia & Usti nad Labem Zoo, Czech Republic
· Darlene Schanfald, Olympic Environmental Council, Sequim, Washington
· Paula Palmer, Director Global Response Program/Cultural Survival, Inc., USA
· Diane Wilson, Calhoun County Resource Watch, USA
· Dr. Wolfram Heise, The JAF Foundation, Switzerland
· Foundation for Deep Ecology, USA
· The Conservation Land Trust, USA, Argentina, Chile
· Conservacion Patagonica, USA, Argentina
· Fundacion Pumalin, USA, Chile
· Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, USA
· Wolfgang Gerster, Germany
· Madhusree Mukerjee, writer, Germany
· Joanna Levitt, International Accountability Project, USA
· Gabriella Zanzanaini, Food & Water, Europe
· Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch, USA
· Nina Holland, Corporate Europe Observatory, Belgium
· DeeVon Quirolo, Co-Founder of Reef Relief, USA
· Guadalupe Rodriguez, Salva la Selva, Spain
· Klaus Schenck, Rettet den Regenwald, Germany
· Beatrice Gorez, CFFA - CAPE, Belgium
· Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, USA
· Mary Bricker-Jenkins, USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants (USACAI), USA
· Robert Jereski, New York Climate Action Group, USA
· Tim Keating, Rainforest Relief, USA
· Herman Klosius,Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika (IGLA), Austria
· Redmanglar Internacional, Latin America
· Jorge Varela, CODDEFFAGOLF, Honduras
· Henderson Colina, AEPA FALCON NGO, Venezuela
· Alianza por los manglares, Litorales, Aguas y Suelos ALMAS REDMANGLAR, Venezuela
· La Ventana AC de Mexico, Mexico
· Juan Carlos Cardenas, Centro Ecoceanos, Chile
· Juan Manuel Guevara
· Teresa Perez, World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay
· Rezwana Hasan, Bangaldesh Environmental Lawyers' Association, Bangladesh
· Hasan Mehedi, Humanitywatch, Bangladesh
· Shamsul Huda, Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh
· Meghnaguha Thakurata, Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB), Bangladesh
· Philip Gain, Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD), Bangladesh
· Khorshed Alam, Alternative Movement for Resources and Freedom Society, Bangladesh
· Ashraf Mohammed, Bangladesh
· Anti-Debt Coalition (KAU), Indonesia
· Black Tiger Shrimp Farmers' Union (P3UW), Indonesia
· Institute of Global Justice (IGJ), Indonesia
· Berry Nahdian Furcion, Indonesia
· Ruddy Gustave, KONPHALINDO, Indonesia
· Muhammad Reza, Serikat Nelayan Indonesia / Indonesia Fisherfolk Union, Indonesia
· Nurhidayat Moenir, Jaringan Kerja Pemetaan Partisipatif (JKPP), Indonesia
· Geetha Lakmini, Food Sovereignty Network, Sri Lanka
· Herman Kumara, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka
· Shamith Roshan, Youth in Action (YinA), Sri Lanka
· Thomas Kocherry, National Fishworkers' Forum (NFF), India
· Bijaya Kumar Kabi, Action for Protection of Wild Animals, India
· Kunal Deb, Uthnau, India.
· Samir Acharya, Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology, India
· Javier M. Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines, IUCNCEESP, Philippines
· S.M. Mohamed Idris, Consumers' Association of Penang, Malaysia
· Meenakshi Raman, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia), Malaysia
· Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network, Malaysia
· Akie Hart, Mangrove Forest Conservation Society of Nigeria
· Tekena Opukunachukwu, Grassroots Coalition for Transparency and Good Governance, Nigeria
· Nemi Tammuno, Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment, Nigeria
· Shedrach Philimon, Rural Communities Development Association, Nigeria
· Parker Lawson, Economic Empowerment and Environmental Protection Network, Nigeria
· Ibiwari Hector,Peace and Justice Foundation, Nigeria
· Henry Folawiyor, Child Rights Initiative, Nigeria
· Junior Pepple, Bethaisda Environmental Foundation, Nigeria
· Clifford Opusunju, Positive Change Advocates, Nigeria
· Nenibarini Zabbey, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Nigeria
· Ekindi Moudingo, Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society, Cameroon
· Edem Edem, African Mangrove Network, Nigeria
· Wally Menne, Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa
· Rowland Benjamin, Information for Action, Perth, Western Australia
International Pressure Grows Against WWF’s Shoddy Shrimp Certification Standards
4th May, 2011. Activists from more than 50 organizations around the world released an Open Letter (document appended) addressed to the committee members of the WWF-led Aquaculture Dialogues. Recently, at an event at the European Seafood Exposition in Brussels WWF’s new certification standards for tilapia, pangasius, abalone and bivalves were ceremonially given to the newly-formed Aquaculture Stewardship Council -- another WWF-led body.
Calling the standards “a crude attempt [...] that perpetuated unsustainable production systems” they dismissed WWF’s claim that the standards were developed in consultation with local communities and indigenous peoples who are affected by aquaculture farms. They alleged that WWF’s plans to certify the export-oriented, industrial production of such species as shrimp, pangasius and salmon were developed specifically to promote the interests of the aquaculture industry. They also pointed out that the standards were being diluted under pressure from the industry to ensure that 20% of existing shrimp producers could be certified immediately after the standards were released.
The “Aquaculture Dialogues” run by WWF were in part funded by the seafood industry1, and the individual employed by WWF to run the process was previously employed as a regional vice-president for a controversial aquaculture multinational, that has been widely accused of labour violations and environmental destruction.2
“WWF is wrong to claim their standards include inputs from local “stakeholders” when the main body of those stakeholders- the local resource users, who are directly affected by the industry- did not have any voice in determining these ‘standards’,” says Natasha Ahmad of Asia Solidarity Against Industrial Aquaculture (ASIA).
Riza Damanik of KIARA -- a network of Indonesian fisher-folk groups -- agrees. “We saw the WWF Aquaculture Dialogue in Jakarta and protested at the venue,” he said. “95% of those in attendance were from the shrimp industry and the government. WWF’s claim that communities were involved is a joke -- they organized their so-called dialogue with affected local communities in a posh city venue.”
“These WWF/ ShAD standards are just one more ‘pie-in-the-sky’ attempt to justify and expand the profits of an unsustainable and destructive industry, resulting in further loss of mangrove forests and displacement of local communities,” says Alfredo Quarto, of Mangrove Action Project.
”WWF continues to ignore the risk that their shrimp certification scheme may result in actually increasing demand for shrimp, thus increasing the expansion of the bad practices that certification was supposedly trying to address through these standards,” says Gudrun Hubendick a Swedish activist.
The Open Letter is signed “The Conscientious Objectors” and the signatories work on an astonishingly diverse spectrum of i
ssues -- human rights, consumer rights, indigenous peoples rights, land and water use, agriculture, environmental law and conservation, labour rights, marine and coastal ecology, soil science, social science and fisheries.
The Conscientious Objectors claim that export-oriented, industrial aquaculture has had a devastating impact on all these sectors.
1 Last month WWF announced a partnership with SYSCO, the largest food distributor in
the US, to assess the sourcing of it's farmed fish species, in return for assistance in funding the Aquaculture dialogues (http://www.fishupdate.com/news/fullstory.php/aid/12365/ WWF_partners_with_SYSCO_on_sustainable_seafood.html) 17 April 2009
2 The head of WWF's aquaculture dialogue program is Jose Villalon, who previously
managed a 470-acre shrimp farm in Mazatland in Mexico, and worked for Marine Harvest in Guayaquil, Ecuador as Vice-President of Shrimp Farm Production for 11 years.
Asia: Natasha Ahmad, Asia Solidarity Against Industrial Aquaculture (ASIA), E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Latin America: Jorge Varela,CODDEFFAGOLF,Honduras E-Mail: email@example.com
Africa: Edem O Edem, Nigerian representative for the African Mangrove Network E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Sweden: Gudrun Hubendick, Stockholm, Sweden E-Mail:email@example.com
USA Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Network E-Mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Tel: (360) 452-5866
Notes to Editor:
The rapid rise in global demand for cheap shrimp and farmed salmon has caused extensive degradation of mangrove wetlands and other coastal ecosystems and subsequent losses in biodiversity. These losses have also destroyed livelihoods among local communities and indigenous peoples in many nations across the global South.
Shrimp: At a time when shrimp is the most popular seafood in the U.S., and growing in popularity in Europe and Japan, most consumers don't realize the extensive problems their appetite for shrimp engenders. 90% of shrimp consumed in the U.S. are imported from countries where mangrove ecosystems have been recently cleared to establish vast stretches of shrimp ponds dug into once productive wetland soils. This causes serious declines in biodiversity and related wild fisheries, shoreline erosion, increased susceptibility to hurricanes and tsunamis, and releases massive quantities of carbon, which had previously been safely stored beneath mangrove roots, thus contributing to climate change. There are also many health issues raised by eating farmed shrimp grown in chemical soups of antibiotics, pesticides and other contaminants.
For more information: http://mangroveactionproject.org/resolveuid/361976563740dc46183167711fe98a37
Salmon: Similar issues pervade the fin-fish aquaculture industries. Salmon farming is one such industry leading to massive escapes of non-native Atlantic salmon into Pacific Ocean waters, while endangering native Pacific salmon and other marine life because of disease and parasite outbreaks, pollution and overuse/misuse of antibiotics potentially causing
dangerous pathogens to develop antibiotic resistance.
For more information: http://www.puresalmon.org/fact_sheets.html