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Study Analyses Impact of Third-Party Certification

Sustainability Economics Politics +4 more

THAILAND - Does third-party certification make a difference? Dr Michael Tlusty, director of research at New England Aquarium in Boston, Massachusetts, USA, posed the question to a roomful of seafood and aquaculture professionals at the Global Aquaculture Alliances GOAL 2012 conference in Bangkok, Thailand, on 2 November.

Dr Tlusty presented the results of a study in which he analyzed and measured the impact of the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification program. (He is also a member of the BAP Standards Oversight Committee.)

Among the main objectives of the BAP management team is provide pre-audit guidance to farms pursuing certification so they can implement the necessary improvements to meet the BAP standards, said Dr Tlusty. Common areas of pre-audit improvements involve effluent management and food safety.

Dr Tlusty looked at not only whether farms are implementing the necessary improvements but also whether the improvements are maintained from the first audit through the second audit.

Another way to look at [whether the BAP program is] making a difference is once a farm makes all of the improvements do they stick, are they maintained? asked Dr Tlusty. We find that about 60 percent of farms actually do maintain improvements.

Dr Tlusty stressed that more needs to be done to adequately capture the improvements that facilities are making. Has performance improved over the last decade? Yes, it has. Were assuring that farmers are actually doing an adequate job of monitoring, said Dr Tlusty.

Does certification make a difference? Yes, but were not doing a good enough job of capturing improvements that farms are actually making.