Open letter to the GSC of the WWF Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue

4th May, 2011

Dear ShAD/GSC members,

 After careful and considered reflection on the draft standards and the whole WWF-ShAD (Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue) process, we the undersigned Conscientious Objectors — NGOs working with local communities in the shrimp producer-nations and consumers in the shrimp-importing nations — have unanimously decided that we cannot support the ShAD General Steering Committee (ShAD/GSC) and the Aquaculture Stewardship Council’s (ASC) intentions or actions towards establishing standards for shrimp aquaculture certification. Many others who have added their names and organizational affiliations to our list have also joined us in our protest.

 We must therefore continue our course to speak out publicly and campaign against the intent and the process that WWF-ShAD has endeavoured to undertake. The historical record and scientific evidence both indicate that certification will do much harm to both Local Resource Users and the coastal marine environment. The following reasons stand out among many others as indicators that we COs must continue to strongly oppose the ShAD process and the intended ASC and organize a wider resistance against ShAD and other shrimp certification schemes in both Europe and the USA:

  1. There has never been involvement nor representation in WWF-ShAD’s so-called dialogue process for the majority of stakeholders or, more aptly, the Local Resource Users who are adversely affected by the shrimp industry in producer nations. ShAD’s “stakeholders” are overwhelmingly those invested in the growth of the shrimp-export industry.
  2. With each revision to the draft, the standards and their evaluation criteria have been progressively and deliberately diluted by the GSC to ensure that at least 20% of the existing shrimp industry can be certified immediately after the Standards are released. The process clearly demonstrates the bias of the ShAD/GSC.
  3. The ShAD/GSC has resolutely refrained from undertaking or commissioning serious research to collect meaningful and verifiable inputs and feedback from Local Resource Users in the manner prescribed by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB).
  4. The GSC process for selecting its board members has not been fair from the beginning and is not representative of a transparent and democratic process. As such, the standards overwhelmingly represent industry interests — for example: the whole of Africa is “represented” on the ShAD/GSC by shrimp industry nominees from Madagascar.
  5. Continued lack of proper legislation and enforcement in producer-nations makes adherence to any certification standard unfeasible.
  6. ShAD puts too much trust in the industry to monitor and regulate itself. The certification programme depends upon an untried and untested auditing system. Other critical aspects of the process too require a “leap of faith” — that previously disastrous practices will miraculously reverse their effects once the ShAD standards are released.
  7. The ShAD standards continue to perpetuate unsustainable and destructive open-throughput systems of aquaculture — with a legacy of 400,000 hectares (and counting) of abandoned ponds in producer-nations.

The standards also promote bad practices relating to so-called “mitigation of the effects of mangrove loss”.

  1. The process conveniently ignores wide-spread community displacement, human rights violations and environmental damage to many thousands of hectares of land by the shrimp industry prior to 1999. Under the present standards, ponds in these regions could be certified. Trends indicate that they will. The ASC becomes, therefore, a confessional for the shrimp industry and will grant indulgences in the form of certification.
  2. Export-oriented tropical shrimp production does not contribute towards food security. Food security should not be measured by the weight of export-production or the profit-curve of the industry, but instead by the availability of healthy and sustainable means of local food production for local consumption.
  3. There remains the great risk that WWF-ShAD certification, by placing a green stamp on tropical shrimp, will actually expand the demand for farmed tropical shrimp — both certified and uncertified — thus promoting the continued (and possibly more rapid) expansion of unsustainable practices.
  4. Feed issues are still not satisfactorily resolved and there is still no effective plan to meet increasing feed demands. The projected reliance on GM soy and palm oil is of great concern.
  5. The COs had requested a breakdown of development time spent by ShAD in developing their social, environment and technical standards. We have not received this, yet.
  6. ShAD/GSC and their offspring in the ASC have still not taken any direct and effective actions to influence consumers in the importing nations to reduce shrimp consumption — extremely pertinent to the intent and purposes to any attempt at designing a certification program for shrimp.

We reiterate our demands that shrimp farming should not be located within the inter-tidal zone; it should not be allowed to affect productive agricultural lands, or displace members of local communities.

The final draft standards represent an extremely crude attempt at setting up “standards”. The process demonstrates a lack of careful thought and consideration of ground realities and concern for Local Resource Users — people who will suffer the consequences of WWF-ShAD’s actions.

The GSC’s position that the standards will be released regardless of their merit and consequences leaves little scope for further dialogue.

As such, we the undersigned Conscientious Objectors reject the WWF-ShAD process and its shrimp aquaculture standards.

We reaffirm our support, as always,

For the mangroves and mangrove communities,

The Conscientious Objectors

To see the full list of signees, click:

Signed by:


  1.  Pisit Charnsnoh, Yadfon Association, Thailand
  2.  Khushi Kabir, Nijera Kori, Bangladesh
  3.  Riza Damanik, KIARA (Fisheries Justice Coalition), Indonesia
  4.  Alfredo Quarto, Mangrove Action Project
  5.  Maurizio Farhan Ferrari, Forest Peoples Programme, UK
  6.  Natasha Ahmad, ASIA Solidarity against Industrial Aquaculture, India
  7.  Gudrun Hubendick, Stockholm Society for Nature Conservation, Sweden
  8.  Don Staniford, Global Alliance against Industrial Aquaculture
  9.  Maria Delgado, ECOTERRA Intl.
  10.  Marieke Mutsaers, Trichilia ABC, Netherlands
  11.  Stanislav Lhota, Univ. of South Bohemia & Usti nad Labem Zoo, Czech Republic
  12.  Darlene Schanfald, Olympic Environmental Council, Sequim, Washington
  13.  Paula Palmer, Director Global Response Program/Cultural Survival, Inc., USA
  14.  Diane Wilson, Calhoun County Resource Watch, USA
  15.  Dr. Wolfram Heise, The JAF Foundation, Switzerland
  16.  Foundation for Deep Ecology, USA
  17.  The Conservation Land Trust, USA, Argentina, Chile
  18.  Conservacion Patagonica, USA, Argentina
  19.  Fundacion Pumalin, USA, Chile
  20.  Joanna Levitt, International Accountability Project, USA
  21.  Gabriella Zanzanaini, Food & Water, Europe
  22.  Wenonah Hauter, Executive Director, Food & Water Watch, USA
  23.  Nina Holland, Corporate Europe Observatory, Belgium
  24.  DeeVon Quirolo, Co-Founder of Reef Relief, USA
  25.  Guadalupe Rodriguez, Salva la Selva, Spain
  26.  Klaus Schenck, Rettet den Regenwald, Germany
  27.  Béatrice Gorez, CFFA – CAPE, Belgium
  28.  Anne Petermann, Global Justice Ecology Project, USA
  29.  Mary Bricker-Jenkins, USA-Canada Alliance of Inhabitants (USACAI), USA
  30.  Robert Jereski, New York Climate Action Group, USA
  31.  Tim Keating, Rainforest Relief, USA
  32.  Sylvie Cardona, d’AVES, France
  33.  Herman Klosius, Informationsgruppe Lateinamerika – IGLA, Austria
  34.  Nian Dorry, Northwest Atlantic Marine Alliance, USA
  35.  Dan Silver, Endangered Habitats League, USA
  36.  Redmanglar Internacional, Latin America
  37.  Jorge Varela, CODDEFFAGOLF, Honduras
  38.  Henderson Colina, AEPA FALCON NGO, Venezuela
  39.  Alianza por los manglares, Litorales, Aguas y Suelos ALMAS REDMANGLAR, Venezuela
  40.  La Ventana AC de Mexico, Mexico
  41.  Juan Carlos Cardenas, Centro Ecoceanos, Chile
  42.  Teresa Perez, World Rainforest Movement, Uruguay
  43.  Nemesio Juan Rodríguez Mitchell, PUMC-UNAM sede Oaxaca, México
  44.  René Schärer, Instituto Terramar, Brazil
  45.  Manuela Díaz Ballesteros, Asociación de Pescadores, Campesinos, afro descendientes e Indígenas para el Desarrollo Comunitario de la Ciénaga Grande del Bajo Sinú, ASPROCIG, Colombia
  46.  Fundación Urundei, Salta, Argentina
  47.  Rezwana Hasan, Bangaldesh Environmental Lawyers’ Association, Bangladesh
  48.  Hasan Mehedi, Humanitywatch, Bangladesh
  49.  Shamsul Huda, Association for Land Reform and Development (ALRD), Bangladesh
  50.  Meghnaguha Thakurata, Research Initiatives Bangladesh (RIB), Bangladesh
  51.  Philip Gain, Society for Environment and Human Development (SEHD), Bangladesh
  52.  Khorshed Alam, Alternative Movement for Resources and Freedom Society, Bangladesh
  53.  Anti-Debt Coalition (KAU), Indonesia
  54.  Black Tiger Shrimp Farmers’ Union (P3UW), Indonesia
  55.  Institute of Global Justice (IGJ), Indonesia
  56.  Berry Nahdian Furqon, Indonesia
  57.  Ruddy Gustave, KONPHALINDO, Indonesia
  58.  Muhammad Reza, Serikat Nelayan Indonesia / Indonesia Fisherfolk Union, Indonesia
  59.  Nurhidayat Moenir, Jaringan Kerja Pemetaan Partisipatif (JKPP), Indonesia
  60.  Geetha Lakmini, Food Sovereignty Network, Sri Lanka
  61.  Herman Kumara, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka
  62.  Shamith Roshan, Youth in Action (YinA), Sri Lanka
  63.  Thomas Kocherry, National Fishworkers’ Forum (NFF), India
  64.  Bijaya Kumar Kabi, Action for Protection of Wild Animals (APOWA), India
  65.  Kunal Deb, Uthnau, India.
  66.  Samir Acharya, Society for Andaman and Nicobar Ecology, Port Blair, India
  67.  Javier M. Claparols, Ecological Society of the Philippines, IUCN-CEESP, Philippines
  68.  S.M. Mohamed Idris, Consumers’ Association of Penang, Malaysia
  69.  Meenakshi Raman, Sahabat Alam Malaysia (Friends of the Earth Malaysia), Malaysia
  70.  Chee Yoke Ling, Third World Network, Malaysia
  71.  Akie Hart, Mangrove Forest Conservation Society of Nigeria
  72.  Tekena Opukunachukwu, Grassroots Coalition for Transparency and Good Governance, Nigeria
  73.  Nemi Tammuno, Rural Initiative for Community Empowerment, Nigeria
  74.  Shedrach Philimon, Rural Communities Development Association, Nigeria
  75.  Parker Lawson, Economic Empowerment and Environmental Protection Network, Nigeria
  76.  Ibiwari Hector,Peace and Justice Foundation, Nigeria
  77.  Henry Folawiyor, Child Rights Initiative, Nigeria
  78.  Junior Pepple, Bethaisda Environmental Foundation, Nigeria
  79.  Clifford Opusunju, Positive Change Advocates, Nigeria
  80.  Nenibarini Zabbey, Centre for Environment, Human Rights and Development (CEHRD), Nigeria
  81.  Ekindi Moudingo, Cameroon Wildlife Conservation Society, Cameroon
  82.  Edem Edem, African Mangrove Network, Nigeria
  83.  Wally Menne, Timberwatch Coalition, South Africa
  84.  Rowland Benjamin, Information for Action, Perth, Western Australia
  85. Edda Kirleis, Evangelischer Entwicklungsdienst EED, Germany
  86. Ashish Kothari, Kalpavriksh, India
  87. Abdoulaye Diame, WAAME, Senegal
  88. Jean-Marie Muanda, ADEV, Congo
  89. Orijemie Akpo Emuobosa, University of Ibadan, Nigeria
  90. Lydia Chaparro, Área Marina – Ecologistas en Acción, Spain
  91. Salomon Abresparr, Fältbiologerna – Nature and Youth, Sweden
  92. Centre National de Coopération au Développement, Belgium


  1.  Douglas and Kristine Tompkins, USA
  2.  Wolfgang Gerster, Germany
  3.  Madhusree Mukerjee, Germany
  4.  Marc Robinson, France
  5.  Javier Mateo, Spain
  6.  Yara Schaeffer-Novelli, Brazil
  7.  Khaing Shwe, ME
  8.  Emily Broderick, FL
  9.  Wendy Lee, Jamaica “Certification that is not based on credible data and effective management is meaningless… just a form of greenwashing.”
  10.  Htain Lin, Myanmar
  11.  Marc Sommer, Netherlands Antilles
  12.  Alain Olvera Baena, Spain
  13.  Kat Hollomon, United Kingdom
  14.  Pillar Gallego, Spain
  15.  Ann Truyens, Canada
  16.  Gabi Feijo, Brazil
  17.  René Scharer, Brazil
  18.  Marta Rivera, Spain
  19.  William Warren, MA “Analyses of persistent organic pollutants (COPs) should first be performed on sediment, water and shrimp tissues, the results posted on a website to show transparency, and tests be performed by companies that follow EPA standards. Thank you.”
  20.  Alex Tagge, CA
  21.  Shannon Alexander, FL
  22.  Jess Jordan, MA
  23.  Jacques Mermoud, New Caledonia
  24.  Elin Andersson, Sweden
  25.  Dan Silver, CA
  26.  Jonathan Spinac, NY
  27.  Piyashi Debroy, India
  28.  Jean-Marie Muanda, Democratic Republic of Congo
  29.  Peter Zdrojewski, OH
  30.  Beckline Mukete, Netherlands
  31.  Kakolee Banerjee, India
  32.  Prarthi Shah, India
  33.  Karin Wijnand, Netherlands
  34.  Noor Alam, Bangladesh “I hate saline shirimp culture.”
  35.  Bev Brewis, Canada
  36.  Zebedee Feka, Cameroon
  37.  Celeste Botha, WA
  38.  Ewa Piasecka, Poland
  39.  James Mulcare, WA
  40.  Bettina Lorenz, Germany
  41.  Natasa Legen, Croatia
  42.  Eternal Gardener, Australia “Do your homework WWF: greenwashing is ECOCIDE! Walk the talk!”
  43.  Allan Yorkowitz, NJ
  44.  May Howie, United Kingdom
  45.  Anette Stauske, Germany
  46.  Agnieszka Tyszkiewicz, Lithuania
  47.  Rebecca Brandon, Australia
  48.  Peter Kralovic, Slovakia
  49.  Elzbieta Gotkowska, Poland
  50.  Mary Hebblewhite, GA
  51.  Steve Klein, Canada
  52.  Lene Harries, Denmark
  53.  Mageswari Sangaralingam, Malaysia
  54.  Mary Truelove, IN
  55.  Alan Francisco, CA
  56.  Debora Freriks, Netherlands
  57.  Thomas Moore, TX
  58.  David Lobina, Sweden
  59.  Theodore Spachidakis, Greece
  60.  Elizabeth Reynolds, United Kingdom
  61.  Thomas Gordon, MO
  62.  Rachel Martin, United Kingdom
  63.  Roger Monk, United Kingdom
  64.  Victoria McFarlane, United Kingdom
  65.  Danielle Herie, Canada
  66.  Teresa Wlosowicz, Poland
  67.  Iwona Krzeminska, Poland
  68.  Gretchen Craig, NY
  69.  Julian Lang, CA “Please respect local voices when establishing standards than can impact negatively their local environments as this proposed WWF- ShAD action surely will.”
  70.  Tom Stilwell, NC
  71.  Hege Torset, Norway
  72.  Julia Bateman, Ukraine
  73.  Regina Powell, CA
  74.  Arthur J, PA
  75.  Joanna Walczak, Poland
  76.  Gordana Roljic, Serbia And Montenegro
  77.  Tonie Wickman, Sweden “Certification is normally a good thing but when it comes to tropical shrimp aquaclture it is different. There is a need to be careful as no systems so far has proven to fulfill standards needed for a certification worth the name. With bad systems being certified all certifications risk to loose conficence, which would spoil possibilities for a sustainable future.”
  78.  Maren Heinig, Australia
  79.  Anissa Reed, Canada “There is no right way to do the wrong thing!”
  80.  Elishia Windfohr, CA
  81.  Margaret Runfors, Sweden
  82.  Tahoma Khalsa, WA
  83.  Pocho Alvarez, Ecuador
  84.  Debbie Williams, WV
  85.  Juan Manuel Guevara, Ecuador “Un apoyo total, estoy en contra de la tala indiscriminada del manglar que nos afecta a todos, y a las poblaciones usuarias directamente.”
  86.  Sandra Rocha, Portugal
  87.  Karren Exley, United Kingdom
  88.  Susan Benway, VT
  89.  Kendra Richardson, Canada
  90.  Norm Conrad, WA
  91.  Bill C, Germany
  92.  Olga Sokolova, Russian Federation
  93.  Lynette Zizzo, NY
  94.  Sami Signorino, IN
  95.  Vukan Simic, Serbia And Montenegro
  96.  Alex Tan, Canada
  97.  Szilvia Molnar, Hungary
  98.  Mireille Picron, Belgium
  99.  Carrie Gleason, AZ
  100.  Monica Gutierrez-Quarto, WA
  101.  Karen Drissi, Tunisia
  102.  Harsha Vardhana R, India
  103.  Lou Baxter, Australia
  104.  Diane Berings, Belgium
  105.  Christophe Bazin, France
  106.  Matjaz Bratus, Slovenia
  107.  Marina Dobraya, CA
  108.  Ann Rybalka, Ukraine
  109.  Vlado Gasperov, Croatia
  110.  George Theobald, Australia
  111.  Aletta Kraan, Canada
  112.  Gudrun Dennis, FL
  113.  Nicole Weber, MD
  114.  Cindy Collier, United Kingdom
  115.  Patricia Myers, NY
  116.  Rejanne Albuquerque, Brazil
  117.  Susan M R, Ireland
  118.  Brenda Collins, United Kingdom
  119.  Andy Walker, United Kingdom
  120.  Marta de la Fuente, Spain
  121.  Hester Low, Singapore
  122.  Hallie Brotherton, WV
  123.  Kathleen Basiewicz, NC
  124.  Amber Caine, GA
  125.  Patrick Donovan, NY “The world’s food supply is too fragile for haphazard and biased rule making.”
  126.  Darini Suthasakul, Thailand
  127.  Ana Fuentes, Uruguay
  128.  CJ Johnson, VA
  129.  Emma Spurgin Hussey, United Kingdom
  130.  Michael Kirkby, Canada
  131.  Beatrice de Filippis, Yemen
  132.  Victoria Molinari, WA
  133.  Val Rose, CO
  134.  Isabel Esteve, Spain
  135.  David Erik Barsati, Sweden
  136.  Danny Madzhurova, Bulgaria
  137.  Irina Tikhomirova, Russian Federation
  138.  HP Garden, United Kingdom
  139.  Xana Barroso, Portugal
  140.  Albert Mah, Australia
  141.  Jana F., South Africa
  142.  Fran Fulwiler, OR
  143.  Elena Podgosnik, Russian Federation
  144.  Per Stenbeck, Sweden
  145.  Hasmukh Jiwa, India
  146.  Beth Burrows, USA
  147.  Yvonne Thiemann, Germany
  148.  Anne Cook, WA
  149.  Matthias Bauer, Germany
  150.  Valentino Martinelli, Germany
  151.  Michael Skazick, United Kingdom
  152.  Eva Cardona, Spain
  153.  Albert Hamann, Germany
  154.  Thaddäus Bielefeld, Germany
  155.  Sebastian Lasse, Germany
  156.  Cecilia Bowerman, Australia
  157.  Margy Stewart, CA
  158.  Patricia Matejcek, CA
  159.  Karilyn Shephard, Trinidad And Tobago
  160.  Tamara Segrt, Serbia And Montenegro
  161.  John Schertow, Canada
  162.  Helen Golding, United Kingdom
  163.  Gharsallah Mohamed, Saudi Arabia
  164.  Bruce Sandison, United Kingdom
  165. Gabriela Fonseca, Ecuador
  166. Valli Sanstrom, WA
  167. Carten Meyer, Germany
  168. Nicolette Ludolphi, Germany
  169. Jean Luc Tortiller, France
  170. Marija Popovic, Serbia And Montenegro
  171. Kayleigh Rhodes, United Kingdom
  172. Lalla Bock, Switzerland
  173. Marco Baracca, Italy
  174. Kelly Kalinke, Germany
  175. Toni Adisano, NY
  176. Rik Reynolds, WA “Shrimp farming is destructive to the environment.”
  177. Katja Relford, Germany
  178. Chrissy Henker, Germany
  179. Jennifer Curtis, MS
  180. Zannah Mustapha, Nigeria
  181. Balin Hansen, WA
  182. Katherine Garnett, NM
  183. Dennis Kaplan, OH
  184. Nikos Pastos, AK “Standards for shrimp certification must be inclusive of local shrimp users.”
  185. Hasmukh Jiwa, India
  186. Oumar Balde, Congo
  187. David Dow, MA
  188. Vivian Newman, ME
  189. William Newman, ME
  190.  Vanditta Diwakar, Fiji
  191. Angie Chapman, United Kingdom
  192.  Kathi Corrigan, NH
  193.  Cl Ripley, NY
  194. Katella Ting, CA
  195.  A Montgomery, FL
  196.  Vika Babakova, Ukraine
  197. Carolyn Hayton, Australia
  198.  Serena Wittkopp, OR
  199. Michelle Hodges, United Kingdom
  200.  Cristiano Pinnow, Brazil
  201.  Amelie Laurent, France
  202.  Imelda Avendano, TX
  203.  Sherry Dillon, MD
  204.  Patti LePage, MO
  205.  Gabriela Seabra, Portugal
  206.  Richard Hieber, Germany
  207.  Marion Laval Jeantet, France
  208.  Barbara Mindermann, France
  209.  Catherine Hammond, MD
  210.  Lee Lockwood, DC
  211.  Amanda Carter, NY
  212. Pamela Kirkham, ON
  213. John Taylor, MA
  214.  Karin Lehnigk, VA
  215.  Amy E Stroud, TX
  216.  Danuta Watola, Poland
  217.  Chris McLaughlin, MA
  218.  Kathy Parsons, United Kingdom
  219.  Chantal Buslot, Belgium
  220.  Maria E Lozano Marin, Spain
  221. Francis M Cone, US
  222.  Gawel Solowski, Poland
  223.  Ana Gutierrez, Nicaragua
  224.  Mark M Giese, WI
  225.  Paul Wilson, WV
  226.  Agnes Wojciechowska, Poland
  227.  Dominic Delarmente, Philippines
  228.  Gawel Solowski, Poland
  1. Salomon Abresparr, Fältbiologerna – Nature and Youth, Sweden

  2. Centre National de Coopération au Développement, Belgium

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *