“Aquaculture — or fish farming — will provide close to two-thirds of global food fish consumption by 2030, as catches from wild-capture fisheries level off and demand from an emerging global middle class, especially in China, substantially increases.*”
— World Bank
What does the Best Aquaculture Practices program certify?
Established in 1997, the Global Aquaculture Alliance is the developer of the Best Aquaculture Practices worldwide certification program. In 2003, the trade organization completed the initial BAP certification standards for seafood-processing plants. Today, the BAP aquaculture certification program ensures that the aquaculture processes used to produce a wide range of farmed finfish and crustacean species are both socially and environmentally responsible.
BAP certification defines the most important elements of responsible aquaculture and provides quantitative guidelines by which to evaluate adherence to those practices for processing plants, farms, feed mills and hatcheries to assure that these facilities apply responsible aquaculture management.
Retail, foodservice and wholesale buyers looking to minimize environmental impacts and respect workers’ rights procure wholesome aquaculture products with BAP certification.
What types of facilities and species are covered by BAP?
The BAP program outlines standards for each type of facility, from hatchery and feed mill to farm and processing plant. In addition to its coverage of shrimp, salmon, tilapia, Pangasius, channel catfish and mussels, BAP certification is available for facilities that produce species that include but are not limited to seabass, sea bream, cobia, seriola, trout, grouper, barramundi, perch, carp, flounder, turbot, striped bass, crabs, freshwater prawns and crawfish.
The BAP multi-species finfish and crustacean farm standards apply to all types of production systems, excluding cage culture of salmonids, which is covered by separate BAP standards. The multi-species standards focus on culture systems, but maintain unique species-related aspects, where applicable.
Are seafood processors certified individually, or are associated facilities certified, too?
Many seafood-processing facilities are certified separately, while others achieve certification as a multi-star production group, as follows:
Top-tier, four-star production groups encompass all levels of the aquaculture production chain: BAP-certified seafood processors with associated farms, feed mills and hatcheries.
Three-star BAP certification involves a combination of a seafood processor, farm and/or hatchery and feed mill.
Two-star BAP certification applies to both seafood processor and farm.
How do I identify BAP-certified seafood products?
The Best Aquaculture Practices label appears on the packing boxes of fresh seafood containers delivered by suppliers. Also, individual packages containing a variety of frozen and prepared finfish and crustacean species have the BAP-certified mark printed on the packaging. A certification number near the center of the mark indicates where the product was processed.
Also, retailers are encouraged to display a “Best Aquaculture Practices Certified” sign to notify consumers that their seafood was produced and taken to market with the utmost care for food safety, environmental integrity, social responsibility, animal welfare and traceability.
Why is BAP-certified farmed seafood a better choice?
BAP-certified farmed seafood is a better choice because the comprehensive BAP standards address much more than just the environment. Aquaculture facilities that participate in BAP certification apply standardized best management practices in every phase of their operations to ensure food safety, environmental integrity, social responsibility, animal welfare and traceability.
How do I find farmed seafood from BAP-certified facilities?
Seafood buyers that demonstrate support for responsibly produced aquaculture products are recognized as BAP Registered Buyers that procure seafood products from certified facilities and display the BAP retail mark.
In addition, consumers are directed to find and buy seafood that has the “Best Aquaculture Practices Certified” mark at stores operated by retail and foodservice leaders that support the BAP program.
How can my company become a BAP Market Endorser?
Retailers globally have endorsed Best Aquaculture Practices certification, including worldwide leaders such as Walmart, Kroger, Darden Restaurants, Tesco and Morrisons, which require BAP certification for their seafood suppliers. Contact the Global Aquaculture Alliance today to become a BAP Market Endorser!
How are the BAP standards initiated and updated?
Species-specific technical committees comprised of members with broad stakeholder representation, under the guidance of a Standards Oversight Committee (SOC), create or update the BAP standards.
To introduce BAP standards, the SOC works with GAA’s standards coordinator to assemble a technical committee that collectively writes a set of draft standards. After review by the SOC, the BAP standards are modified, if needed, and posted for 60 days of public comment. Committee consideration of comments leads to a final draft that must be approved by the SOC and GAA board before implementation.
Review the BAP Standards Development Process information to find complete standards development process and BAP committee structure and selection detail.
How does a plant or facility apply for BAP certification?
It is recommended that facilities interested in BAP certification review the Certification Process information, which includes the standards and guidelines, as well as a certification application form.
The facility must comply with all requirements stated in the BAP standards and application form to become BAP-certified. Interested applicants can learn additional details about the program, certification process and costs by e-mailing the BAP program: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How does the BAP program engage smaller aquaculture facilities?
The BAP program has initiated the Integrated Operating Model pilot program to involve more small- and medium-scale aquaculture farms in the BAP certification process to grow the BAP-certified seafood supply.
* Juergen Voegele, Director Agriculture and Environmental Services Department World Bank