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Worldwide Protest Against WWF's Plans to Launch Aquaculture Stewardship Council

May 16

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16/05/2009 14:18  RssIcon

Over 70 human rights and environmental groups have expressed outrage at the planned launch of the WWF's Aquaculture Stewardship Council.

Worldwide Protest Against WWF's Plans to Launch Aquaculture Stewardship Council

Over 70 human rights and environmental groups from around the world have expressed outrage at the planned launch of the World Wildlife Fund's Aquaculture Stewardship Council.
In a letter sent today to leading members of WWF, campaigners claim that the organisation's plans to certify the industrial production of shrimp and salmon are influenced by the vested  interests of the aquaculture industry, and do not reflect or take into account the wishes of local communities and indigenous peoples who live alongside shrimp and salmon farms. They say that WWF continues to reject invitations to meet with representatives of affected communities in six different aquaculture regions across the world.

Campaigners also argue that the planned certification process is inherently flawed in favour of the aquaculture industry. They point to the fact that the certification body run by WWF is part-funded by the food industry, and that 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.

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.

"WWF needs to explain why they are happy to engage with industry, but have repeatedly rejected calls for meetings from over 70 groups, representing tens of thousands of marginalised people from around the world?" asks Juan Jose Lopez, Coordinator of RedMangar in Latin America.

"How can any process be regarded as legitimate when a large Western NGO and it's financial backers in the food industry are able to dictate what is best for the livelihoods of people in other countries around the world?" asks Alfredo Quarto, of Mangrove Action Project.

"The proposed certification by WWF promises to legitimise environmentally and socially damaging forms of aquaculture in the name of cheap prawns and salmon. It's high time that WWF stops 'Pandering' to the interests of big business, and instead begins to listen to the voices of real people that rely on the oceans and forests to survive." according to Natasha Ahmad, ASIA secretariat.

More on shrimp farming

More on salmon farming

Why fish farming is destroying marine eco-systems

What's wrong with fish farming certification - the example of Indonesia (PDF)


Asia: Natasha Ahmad: Asia Solidarity Against Industrial Aquaculture (ASIA),  00913322840767

Latin America: Juan Jose Lopez of RedManglar (Latin American Mangrove Network), Colombia

Africa: Abdoulaye Diamé of the African Mangrove Network, Senegal

UK: Jim Wickens of Forest Peoples Program +44 7736070379

USA Alfredo Quarto of Mangrove Action Network, Tel. (360) 452-5844



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