Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue

The Salmon Aquaculture Dialogue (SAD), a science-based forum initiated by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) in 2004 to engage NGOs and the world’s largest aquaculture companies, is working to set international standards for salmon farming. CAAR engaged in this multi-stakeholder dialogue to try to ensure that whatever standards were developed were as rigorous as they could be considering the wide range of interests represented in the dialogue (from industry to social justice to environmental protection). CAAR felt that it was necessary to have a strong voice at the table to push for greater environmental protection than might otherwise have been achieved in our absence and to support the call for more rigorous social standards.

A first draft of the standards was released for public comment between August 3rd and October 3rd, 2010. On May 16th, 2011 the second draft was released for a 30-day public comment period ending June 14th, 2011. The second round of public comment is an important stage in determining the final quality of the standards as there are unresolved issues and not all parts of the draft represent consensus agreement among the diverse members in the dialogue.
Read CAAR’s comments on the second SAD standards draft

The Draft Standards

The current draft calls for increased transparency, a commitment to active ecosystem/wild salmon monitoring and management for sea lice, decreased feed dependency on wild fish and mandating the use of feed sourced from fisheries on the higher end of ecological responsibility.

However, the standards could allow continued, albeit improved, net-cage farming despite the fact that there is more public support, more consumer demand and more marketplace opportunity for responsibly produced, closed containment salmon than ever before. The standards themselves are meant to be “technology neutral” and do not mandate any one technology. Closed containment, however, does address the key ecological issues in the draft standards and also solves many of the unresolved problems that otherwise will require extensive monitoring and science to measure.

In addition, CAAR and other global stakeholders continue to be concerned that pesticide treatment to reduce lice levels on farms and the subsequent release of these chemicals into the marine environment is not an acceptable long-term solution.

Given the serious risks to wild salmon from open net-cage salmon farming, CAAR’s support for the final outcome of the SAD process will be determined by the final resolution on how the standards measure several key environmental impacts, and what levels of impact are deemed to pass the standard.

CAAR’s Role & Involvement

Strong international standards for salmon farming can help push the industry towards reducing its negative impacts. As one of four ENGOs involved in the process – CAAR, Pew Environment Group (US), World Wildlife Fund (US) and FundaćionTerram (Chile) – CAAR chose to engage in this dialogue to further its goals by pushing for standards that:

  1. Ensure greater environmental protection for wild salmon and the marine environment from net-cage aquaculture operations.
  2. Ensure the ability of communities to control the negative impacts on residents and existing industries.
  3. Apply to operations that incorporate the full cost of doing business rather than letting the environment bear the cost.
  4. Do not undermine the successes of CAAR and many others to protect wild salmon and the environment.

CAAR also strongly supports the development of standards that will protect aquaculture worker’s rights, guarantee fair labour practices and ensure respect for First Nations rights and title.

Read more about the SAD process.

Read the media release on the second draft of the standards.