ISO technical committee ISO/TC 234, Fisheries and aquaculture, was set up in February 2007 to develop standards that will:
- promote the sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors;
- develop specifications for technical equipment adapted to the local environment;
- improve surveillance and management of marine resources;
- enable international agreement on sampling methods;
- improve the safety of employees;
- establish a common terminology.
The scope of the new committee ranges from terminology to technical specifications for aquaculture farms and equipment, characterization and monitoring of aquaculture sites, environmental monitoring, resource monitoring, data reporting, traceability and waste disposal.
The work of ISO/TC 234 will be complementary to the ongoing international cooperation on fisheries and aquaculture within the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES), the World Organization for Animal Health (OIE), and under the United Nations: the World Health Organization (WHO), the Codex Alimentarius Commission (CAC) and the Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO)
The secretariat of ISO/TC 234 has been allocated to Standards Norway, which made the proposal to set up this committee. According to Standards Norway, the new committee provides private and governmental stakeholders with "a unique opportunity" to participate in the development of fisheries and aquaculture in a manner that respects sustainable development, while avoiding technical barriers to trade through the implementation of International Standards.
So far, 11 ISO member countries have registered to participate in the work. In addition to Norway, they are: Canada, France, Iceland, India, Malaysia, South Africa, Thailand, United Kingdom, USA and Viet Nam. Another 13 countries have observer status.
ISO Secretary-General Alan Bryden commented: "The establishment of ISO/TC 234 illustrates the continuing expansion of the scope of ISO's work and underlines that ISO standards can serve as practical tools for sustainable development by balancing economic, environmental and societal needs."