The Soil Association was one of the first organisations to develop organic standards for aquaculture. Since first publication in 2002, many of those standards are now enshrined in UK and European law and some have even been adopted by the non-organic sector.
As a relatively youthful farming sector, innovation within fish farming is taking place at a fast pace and the Soil Association is therefore reviewing important standards, with public consultation opening in late November.
Updates to the standards will focus on measures to improve welfare standards for Atlantic salmon, wrasse and lumpfish, alongside stricter rules for feed and managing sea lice, to lessen potential impacts on the environment.
Soil Association head of standards Chris Atkinson said in a press release: “Organic farmers are pioneers in sustainable food production, and it is essential that our standards allow them to remain at the leading edge of best practice. As part of our policy to constantly keep all organic standards under review, we are proposing an update to our aquaculture standards to align them with the most recent research and updates to organic standards across Europe. We are seeking the views of anyone with an interest in the fish sector and sustainable food production to get involved with the consultation and to help us to ensure organic continues to drive forward standards of fish farming in the UK.”
The first stage of the review is focusing on the standards for organic Atlantic salmon, with consultation starting in late November. The next stage of the review, in 2024, will look at other species and respond to expected developments in legislation around aquaculture from Scottish Government.
The aquaculture review is happening in tandem with a review of Soil Association organic standards for packaging and for farming and growing in Northern Ireland.
Details on the proposed changes and how people can get involved with both the aquaculture and Northern Ireland standards consultations will be released in mid-late November. The consultation on packaging standards closed last month.