WWF's work on aquaculture began in 1994, when the organization supported a research project comparing the impacts of shrimp aquaculture and shrimp trawling.
The main recommendation from the study was that WWF identify strategies to reduce the major impacts from shrimp aquaculture and engage shrimp producers and governments in a productive dialogue.
Several initiatives followed.
WWF published a shrimp aquaculture position paper in 1997, the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) held a technical workshop on sustainable shrimp aquaculture in 1998. WWF's Dr. Jason Clay and Claude Boyd subsequently published an article about shrimp farming in Scientific American in 1998 that highlighted the need for major changes in aquaculture production systems.
In 1999, WWF partnered with FAO, the World Bank and the Network of Aquaculture Centers of Asia Pacific to create the Shrimp Aquaculture and the Environment Consortium. The United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) also joined the consortium later on.
In 2006, after the completion of more than 140 meetings with more than 8,000 people and the publication of 40 case studies by 120 researchers, the consortium's International Principles for Responsible Shrimp Farming were adopted by the FAO's Committee on Fisheries.
Recognizing the need to continue to engage a broad and diverse group of people in the development of standards for responsible aquaculture, WWF has initiated the 8 roundtables, called Aquaculture Dialogues