Since first developing aquaculture standards in the late 1990s, Soil Association standards have been engrained in UK and European laws for organic, and in some cases, the non-organic sector.
With innovation in fish farming rapidly progressing, the charity has reviewed what it has deemed to be important rules for organic producers, and has now opened proposals for public input.
Soil Association head of standards, Chris Atkinson stated in a press release: “As part of our policy to keep all organic standards under review, we are proposing an update to our aquaculture standards to align them with the most recent research and developments to organic standards across Europe. We are seeking all views and anyone with an interest in the fish sector and sustainable food production should get involved with the consultation to help us to ensure organic continues to drive forward standards of fish farming in the UK.”
Proposals include measures to further improve welfare standards for Atlantic salmon, wrasse and lumpfish, as well as stricter rules to better manage sea lice and lessen potential impacts on the environment.
Additional requirements have also been proposed for feed processors, which if successful would require data to be recorded on what feed is used, in order to generate more evidence that the charity hopes will help progress the standards of best practices.
The second stage of the review is set to take place in 2024, and will focus on other species and respond to expected developments in legislation around aquaculture from Scottish Government.
The consultation is open for 60 days, closing on 29 January 2024. The charity will then assess responses and incorporate them into standard updates, which will be published later in 2024.
A review of Soil Association organic standards for farming and growing in Northern Ireland is taking place in tandem with the aquaculture review, and this consultation is also open.