Sustainable Aquaculture | WWF

Sustainable Aquaculture

The global demand for seafood will increase as the world’s population grows. As no additional supply from marine capture fisheries can be obtained unless overexploited stocks are brought back to their full potential, aquaculture has to provide the future needs. Aquaculture could take pressure off wild fisheries and contribute to socio-economic development in local communities but could also cause major negative impacts on the environment if not practised with sustainable methods. During the last 15 years aquaculture has expanded rapidly in Vietnam and the nation is now one of the world’s largest producers of aquaculture products. The sector has become an important component in the country’s economy and the recent development has contributed to livelihood improvements for the rural population living in the Vietnam Mekong Delta where the majority of the nation’s aquacultures can be found.

Impacts of Aquaculture

  • Legal framework: Some farms operate outside the legal framework for environmental, social and food safety issues;

  • Land use and water use: As new farms are established, sensitive habitat can be destroyed and water is often diverted which can affect other water users;

  • Water pollution and waste management: Farm effluents discharged directly into the water can pollute the surrounding ecosystems and negatively affect plant and animal life as well as human health;

  • Feed management: The use of fishmeal, fish oil and trash-fish as pangasius feed is resulting in depletion of food sources that other fish species rely on;Socio-economics and responsibility: Improve resource management and conflict resolutions in order to maintain the contribution made by aquaculture to food security, employment and national economic development

© WWF-Vietnam/Greg Funell

WWF's activities in aquaculture

Pangasius aquaculture:

  • Promote responsible farming initiatives through ASC certification. In June 2014, 30% of the exported pangasius products were certified with the ASC standard;

  • Keep strong collaboration with key partners to support sustainable aquaculture and to further achieve the main milestone of 50% ASC certified products by 2015;

  • Support and strengthen sustainable practices throughout the whole pangasius supply chain;

  • Promote sustainable seafood consumption;

  • Create policy initiatives for pangasius aquaculture development.

Shrimp aquaculture:

  • Support capacity building and better management practices for small-scale shrimp farmers.

  • Use demonstrative models of ASC certified shrimp practices to advocate for decision- makers and further expand responsible aquaculture practices. 

  • Promote consumption of ASC certified shrimp products in regional and global markets.

  • Study the socio-economic and environmental benefits created by ASC certified shrimp products.

  • Create policy initiatives for shrimp aquaculture development

© Ngo Minh Hang / WWF-Vietnam

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)

Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) is an independent non-profit organisation with the primary goal to manage global standards for responsible aquaculture. ASC works with aquaculture producers, seafood processors, retail and foodservice companies, scientists, conservation groups and consumers. It aims to transform the world's seafood markets toward responsibility and to promote the best environmental and social aquaculture performance. This also includes increasing the availability of certified responsibly sourced seafood on the market and promoting the use of the ASC logo. Seafood products with the ASC quality mark come from producers that demonstrably respect the environment and adhere to guidelines pertaining to food additives and social conditions (ASC 2014).
Visit the ASC website.

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