The International Organization for Standardization (ISO) decided in February 2007, upon a Norwegian proposal, to establish a new technical committee, ISO/TC 234 Fisheries and Aquaculture. The secretariat of the new technical committee was allocated to Standards Norway, Norway’s national body in ISO. Standards Norway will also nominate the chair of the new committee.
The scope of the new committee is to develop standards in the field of fisheries and aquaculture. This includes terminology, technical specifications for aquaculture farms and equipment, characterisation and monitoring of aquaculture sites, environmental monitoring, resource monitoring, data reporting, traceability and waste disposal.
Driving the future
The new committee provides private and governmental stakeholders with a unique opportunity to participate in the international development of fisheries and aquaculture. Implementation of international standards is recognised as one of the best measures to remove technical barriers to trade. It is also expected that the use of international standards will contribute to a more sustainable development of the sector.
Who is making the standards?
All national member bodies of ISO have a right to participate in ISO/TC 234, either as a participating or as an observing member. Other organisations may be approved as liaison organisations to take part in the work.
The development of the specific standards is carried out by working groups consisting of technical experts nominated by a participating ISO member body or by liaison organisations. Non-governmental organisations and other private stakeholders should contact their national member bodies of ISO to check on their participation in ISO/TC 234. Cooperation with their national member body is the recommended strategy for stakeholders to influence the work of the technical committee, and getting nominated as experts to the working groups.
National standards as drafts for international standards
Standards Norway has developed several standards for fisheries and aquaculture, including a standard for environmental monitoring of marine fish farms, and a standard describing the requirements for design, dimensioning, production, installation and operation of marine fish farms. These standards will be suggested as drafts for international standards. Other nations may have their own standards and they have equal rights to suggest these as drafts for international standards.
Objectives of ISO/TC 234
ISO/TC 234 will develop standards to
• enable a sustainable development of the fisheries and aquaculture sectors
• improve the international surveillance and management of marine resources
• provide exact specifications for technical equipment so it fits local conditions and farmed species
• provide the sectors with tools to ensure environmental compatibility
• improve the health and welfare of aquacultured species
• enable traceability of technical equipment with respect to production, trade and use
• enable traceability of seafood from ”fjord to fork”
• provide the producers with tools for efficient registration, exchange and use of production data
• ensure international agreement on methods for sampling and analyses
• improve the safety for employees
• ensure a precise multilingual terminology.
There is ongoing international cooperation on fisheries and aquaculture within The International Council for the Exploration of the Sea ICES, the World Organisation for Animal Health OIE, and under the United Nations (World Health Organisation WHO, Codex Alimentarius Commission CAC, and Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations). The work in ISO/TC 234 shall be complementary to this.
Standards Norway facts
Standards Norway is a private member organisation with approximately 70 employees. The core activity is to develop standards based on market needs. Standards Norway has the copyright on publishing Norwegian Standards. One of the main tasks is to represent Norway in European and international standardisation (CEN and ISO). The organisation is a non-profit organisation, in the sense that all income will be returned to standardisation work.
ISO is the world’s leading developer of International Standards. ISO is a member organisation with one national member per country, and has approximately 150 member bodies from around the world. ISO standards specify the requirements for state-of-the-art products, services, processes, materials and systems, and for good conformity assessment, managerial and organisational practice. ISO standards are designed to be implemented worldwide.