Belize shrimp farms prepare for certification

Belize shrimp farmers are preparing for ASC certification Belize shrimp farmers are preparing for ASC certification

Members of the Belize Shrimp Growers' Association are preparing for Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) assessment, thanks to funding from funding from the Enterprise Innovation Challenge Fund (EICF), a component of the Compete Caribbean program.

The Association expects eight farms, representing 89% of shrimp farms and more than 95% of total farmed shrimp production in Belize, to enter assessment against the ASC Shrimp Standard later this year.

The Belize Shrimp Growers Association has been working with Mauricio Mejia, WWF Mesoamerican Reef program officer for aquaculture, to help the farms develop better management practices and reduce their environmental impact.

“Since 2007 the farms have been reducing their environmental impacts. There is still more to be done but they are on their way to be ready to enter assessment against the ASC standard,” said Mr Mejia.

“For me the certification of eight shrimp farms means the sustainability of the Mesoamerican reef – it will be a massive achievement and an example for other countries and industry.”

Through ASC certification shrimp farms aim to measurably reduce adverse impacts on the environment and local communities by preserving wetlands and mangroves; addressing the transfer of viruses and reducing disease; bringing cleaner water and ensuring the sustainable use of water; ensuring the responsible use of feed; and addressing biodiversity issues.

Compete Caribbean is a private sector development program that provides technical assistance grants and investment funding to support productive development policies, business climate reforms, clustering initiatives and Small and Medium Size Enterprise (SME) development activities in the Caribbean region. The program, jointly funded by the Inter-American Development Bank (IDB), the United Kingdom Department for International Development (DFID) and the Foreign Affairs, Trade and Development Canada (DFATD), supports projects in 15 Caribbean countries. Projects in the OECS countries are implemented in partnership with the Caribbean Development Bank.

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