ICAFIS: “WWF decision to red-list pangasius is surprising”

The WWF assessment of tra fish farming as “to be avoided” came as a surprise to the International Collaborating Centre for Aquaculture and Fisheries Sustainability (ICAFIS), the sustainability arm of the Vietnam Fisheries Society (VINAFIS), for several reasons.

Firstly, the ICAFIS director, while working for the WWF last year, was personally involved in the WWF assessment of the fish, which at the time were a “yellow-listed” item—an alternative to “green-listed” items deemed good for the environment. Although ICAFIS understands that the methodology for assessment has changed, they are puzzled as to why an improved industry is now considered “non-sustainable”.

Secondly, the WWF is known to advocate strongly for a multi-stakeholder approach towards sustainability, hence its support for the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC). However, the methodology applied to conduct this assessment was developed by a small number of organisations, which are far from representing the “views of the stakeholders”.

In addition, the actual assessment results and scores have not been discussed with any key organisations involved in tra fish aquaculture. Hardly a multi-stakeholder approach!

Tra fish aquaculture is not perfect. This is why several stakeholders in Viet Nam (including public and private sector, NGOs, etc.) have been working and succeeding at increasing its sustainability. This is also why ICAFIS has been supporting efforts towards the implementation of ASC standards in tra fish farms, as the ASC is by far a better approach to improve the sector than this “traffic-light” listing.

Condemning conventional production even before the ASC is up and running, does not help anybody, neither the environment nor the industry.

ICAFIS, which is also involved in developing global standards for shrimp, is supporting farmers to achieve certification, is a member of the ASC technical advisory group, and is willing to work with the WWF and other organizations to improve the criteria and the assessment to avoid unnecessary negative impacts on the industry.

We are also open to work with the WWF to review the assessment to ensure its accuracy even though we believe the ASC is a much more credible mechanism to improve the sustainability of the sector. We also welcome the opportunity to use VINAFIS’s 800 local branches to consult with our 34,000 members, which include farmers, fishers and processors, and seek their input in any sustainability efforts.

Dr Flavio Corsin

ICAFIS Director

You want to know more about ICAFIS: click here

You wanto to know more about projects of ICAFIS in Vietnam, click here

You want to contact Mr. Flavio Corsin: flavio.corsin@icafis.org

 

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