FAO worked out global standards for aquaculture
The guidelines will probably be approved by FAO's Fisheries Committee to meet in Rome in late January-early February 2011.
On their approval consumers all over the world will be able to purchase farmed fish products labeled in accordance with aquaculture standards. For example, they will read whether the shrimps have been farmed with no harm to mangrove woods of inshore areas and whether the mollusks have been polluted or not. The guidelines (which will not become mandatory) cover such issues as animals' health, food safety, environmental protection as well as social and economic aspects of those who work in the sphere of aquaculture.
The guidelines have been worked out after four year consultations and discussions of government figures from more than 50 countries and associations of producers, processors and traders.
Aquaculture impact on the world fish production has been rising every year. In the recent fifty years the volume of world fish production has jumped by more than 50 million metric tons. At the same time more than 60% of world production is contributed by China where the aquaculture products account for 90% of the nation's food fish output.
PR head of Russia's Federal Fisheries Agency Alexander Saveljev says that certification of aquaculture products should become widespread, because the world market has had no united criteria and coordinated principles for aquaculture production and now the global certification initiated by FAO will be able to provide for responsible farmed seafood production to cover the rising demand for the products on the market.
There are different ways for small producers to carry out their production activity within the framework of the new certification system, said Saveljev. In Russia, for instance, aqua and mariculture groups could share their certification costs and thus divide the extra burden between them.
Russia's fish farming sector has a huge potential for development thanks to weather conditions and high technologies, underlined Saveljev. Nevertheless, the nation's contribution in the world aquaculture output is not big as compared to the results of the Russian wild fisheries sector.