The new standards encompass all production systems for mussels, including cultivation on the seabed or on poles, and suspended cultures such as long-line culture and raft-and-rack culture. They also cover various mussel species, including blue mussels, Mediterranean mussels, Chilean mussels, New Zealand Greenshell mussels and Asian green mussels.
The addition of BAP mussel farm standards represents a key advancement for the BAP programme, as the new standards will be used as a template for broader mollusk farm standards that cover other commercial species, including clams, oysters, scallops and abalone.
“GAA was delighted to collaborate with stakeholders in the conservation, academic and mussel-farming communities to develop these ground-breaking BAP standards that serve another key sector of the aquaculture industry,” said Global Aquaculture Alliance President George Chamberlain.
“Together with recently implemented multi-species standards for fish and shellfish, GAA is advancing in its mission of furthering responsible aquaculture to meet world food needs.”
As with all BAP standards, the mussel farm standards address social and environmental responsibility, food safety, animal welfare and traceability. They are available to view at www.gaalliance.org/cmsAdmin/uploads/bap-musself-813.pdf.
The final mussel standards represent the outcome of an exhaustive process that considered marketplace expectations and existing BAP elements while recognizing that mussel production systems differ significantly from the finfish and crustacean systems on which other BAP standards are focused.
The technical content of the BAP mussel farm standards was honed by a technical committee under the direction of Dr Andrea Alfaro of Auckland University of Technology in New Zealand. The BAP Standards Oversight Committee - whose members represent a balance of stakeholders from industry, NGOs and academia - recommended refinements to the standards before approving them for release.
Suggestions received from farmers and farming groups, non-governmental organizations and academics during the 60-day public-comment period, which ended on June 8, were also integrated into the final standards. They are available to view at www.gaalliance.org/cmsAdmin/uploads/bap-musself-com.pdf.