The standard addresses social and environmental responsibility, food safety, animal welfare and traceability.
The standard 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 encompass various mussel species, including blue mussels, Chilean mussels, Mediterranean mussels, New Zealand Greenshell mussels and Asian green mussels.
The addition of BAP mussel farm standards represents an important advancement for the BAP program, as it expands the number of species covered by the third-party certification programme. The mussel farm standards will be used as a template for broader mollusk farm standards that cover other commercially important species, including clams, oysters, scallops and abalone.
The draft of the BAP mussel farm standards represents the outcome of an exhaustive process that addresses marketplace expectations and existing BAP elements while recognizing that mussel production systems differ significantly from the finfish and crustacean systems that the BAP programme already targets.
“I would like to express my gratitude to the dedicated technical committee members who have worked so hard on these standards and created something that addresses the needs of both producers and evolving markets,” said BAP Standards Coordinator Dan Lee.
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 (SOC) - whose members represent a balance of stakeholders from industry, NGOs and academia - recommended refinements to the mussel farm standards before approving them for release.
“We extend our most sincere appreciation to Andrea Alfaro and the members of the technical committee, who put in a lot of time diligently addressing all aspects of mussel farming. A job well done,” said GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens.
The BAP programme currently certifies shrimp farms and hatcheries; salmon, tilapia, channel catfish and Pangasius farms; seafood processing plants and feed mills. New BAP standards for additional finfish and crustacean species will be implemented soon.
To submit comments, use the electronic form at www.gaalliance.org/bap/comments.php, e-mail BAP Standards Coordinator Daniel Lee at email@example.com or send a fax to +44-1248-716729.
The deadline to submit comments is 8 June, 2013.