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25/04/2012 - Hundreds of NGO's slam WWF for "greenwashing"

Organizations across continents say the WWF did not involve stakeholders in shrimp farming standards development.

 

Hundreds of NGOs in Asia, Latin America, Africa, North America and Europe are protesting against World Wildlife Fund, purporting the organization has a lack of concern for the environment and people’s livelihoods in the interest of industry profits from shrimp farming.

 

They handed an open letter to the WWF on Wednesday in protest of the WWF's Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue (SHAD) general steering committee and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) plans for shrimp aquaculture standards.

 

“WWF is greenwashing an environmentally damaging and corrupt industry through certification of this luxury product,” said Luciana Queiroz of Redmanglar, representing a network of 254 organizations in 10 Latin American countries.

 

In the letter, they protest the destruction of mangroves and coastal zones. Three hundred organizations in Latin America, Asia and Africa signed on, as well as 30 in the United States and Europe. The letter is stamped with logos from a host of organizations, including the Food and Water Watch and the Stockholm Society for Nature Conservation.

 

They claim the WWF has spent four years and at least $2 million (€1.5 million) to develop standards without involving the stakeholders or resource users.

 

Among their 13 total objections, the organizations claim the standards criteria were developed based upon the desire to ensure that 20 percent of the existing shrimp industry is able to become certified immediately after the standards are released. The standards will perpetuate an unsustainable and destructive system of aquaculture, the groups say.

 

Some other complaints are:

 

The conversion of mangroves and coastal zones into ponds for shrimp cultivation for the export industry has caused severe environmental destruction, depletion of coastal biodiversity and wild fisheries as well as shoreline erosion. It increases susceptibility to hurricanes and tsunamis and releases massive quantities of carbon, thus contributing to climate change.

 

The large scale use of fishmeal exacerbates all these problems. Coastal populations in tropical countries are severely affected by the loss of livelihood, food security and protection from storms. Protests are often met with human rights abuses.

 

Continued lack of proper legislation and enforcement in producer nations makes adherence to any certification standard unfeasible.

 

The WWF certification legitimizes this situation by giving a “green stamp” to shrimp cultivation. Their certification standards, recently finalized, will be handed over to a certification company named the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC).

 

The standards have been developed by WWF and the aquaculture industry through a process called the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue. The WWF says SHAD "brings together a wide range of stakeholders, such as shrimp producers and other members of the supply chain, researchers, NGOs, and government officials to engage in collaborative and voluntary standard setting."

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