A group of pangasius-related stakeholders and experts has completed draft standards for the responsible farming of the catfish genus and posted them online for public comment, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) said.
Created by the 250-plus participants of the Pangasius Aquaculture Dialogue (PAD), the standards address the key environmental and social issues related to pangasius farming, one of the fastest growing types of aquaculture in the world.
"[To get to this point, we've used] the best science and input from a diverse group of stakeholders, including pangasius producers from Vietnam and Bangladesh, buyers, local and international environmental groups, and scientists," technical working group coordinator Nicolas Privet of Anova Food said in a WWF press release.
The process of drafting the standards, which were posted online on Thursday, began in September 2007, when PAD was established as an initiative of WWF.
"There are other pangasius standards in the marketplace but we believe that the open and consensus-oriented approach used in this Dialogue will make the PAD standards more effective," said PAD Coordinator Flavio Corsin, who works for WWF in Vietnam, where most pangasius is raised.
The WWF hopes to get input from as many people as possible within two 60-day periods.
During the public comment period, Corsin and others involved with PAD will keep the process as open as possible by actively reaching out to small-scale aquaculture farmers, fishermen and agriculture farmers in Vietnam and Bangladesh to get their input on the standards.
The standards will be revised as needed after each public comment period so as to incorporate the feedback received, and are expected to be finalized in the fall.
Eventually they will be given to the Aquaculture Stewardship Council to manage when the entity comes into operation, which is expected to happen by 2011.
The PAD standards can be read and commented on at www.worldwildlife.org/pangasiusdialogue .The WWF is coordinating the dialogue on behalf of the dialogue's Process Facilitation Group.