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New BAP Multi-Species Fish Farm Standards Completed

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GLOBAL - The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) has expanded its Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification programme with the completion of new BAP standards for finfish and crustacean farms.

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The new multi-species farm standards apply to all types of production systems for finfish and crustaceans, excluding cage-raised salmonids, for which separate BAP standards exist. The standards that they are replacing were separately tailored for shrimp, salmon, tilapia, Pangasius and catfish.

The addition of the new multi-species farm standards represents a significant advancement for the BAP programme, as it opens up the programme to a number of finfish and crustacean species not previously covered, including sea bass, sea bream, cobia, seriola, trout, grouper, barramundi, perch, carp, flounder, turbot and striped bass.

The new multi-species farm standards also address environmental and social responsibility, food safety, animal welfare and traceability more rigorously than the standards they’re replacing. For example, the new standards contain 33 clauses relating to worker safety and employee relations, compared to just 12 clauses in the previous standards.

“The new standards clearly show how the BAP programme is evolving to meet changing market expectations, stricter compliance criteria and the diverse needs of producers,” said BAP Standards Coordinator Dan Lee.

GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens added: “The new multi-species farm standards are a logical step for the BAP programme. This is a very robust set of standards, and it opens up the BAP programme to an even greater range of finfish and crustacean species.”

The new BAP farms standards were initially developed through a careful amalgamation of the existing BAP standards for shrimp, tilapia, Pangasius and channel catfish farms by Jeff Peterson, director of quality control for the BAP programme. The species-specific standards were developed by specialist technical committees.

The BAP Standards Oversight Committee (SOC) - whose members represent a balance of stakeholders from industry, NGOs and academia - recommended refinements to the standards in November 2012.

The 60-day public-comment period ended on 31 January, 2013. Comments were received from respondents that included fish farmers, academics and non-governmental organizations from Australasia, Asia, Europe and the Americas. The comments are published on the GAA website along with the BAP responses.

The SOC then met at the International Boston Seafood Show in March before going on to approve the standards for implementation. The standards require final approval from the GAA board, which is anticipated this week.