The standard dilemma: A comparative analysis of global salmon aquaculture standards
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Aquaculture has been the fastest growing food production method over the last several decades. In order to achieve its potential to feed a growing global population, however, salmon aquaculture must be able to overcome the negative impacts and encourage the positive impacts. Certification schemes help lead the industry towards sustainable and responsible aquaculture; standards are established as an integral part of such schemes. The current salmon aquaculture standards provide a varying approach to the means of achieving these goals. Only when effective standards emerge and appropriate rigorous criteria developed, can aquaculture be truly sustainable. Standards must not only be accessible, but at the same time set high enough to move the industry in the direction of long term sustainability. This study examines the language and the development of standards as an important step in the movement towards better practices. As a large-scale predatory fish farming industry, salmon aquaculture potentially will have a significant impact on the environment that can be modulated by standards with criteria that incorporate all aspects related to the production of farmed salmon. The solution to the standard dilemma must encompass both increased participation amongst salmon producers as well as more stringent standards. Such a solution faces a number of challenges and will require the cooperation of multiple stakeholders and a desire on the part of everyone to work towards better environmental, social and animal welfare standards.