GAA adds four new members to its standards oversight committee

Four new members have been added to the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s standards oversight committee (SOC), the organization announced on 22 July.

Among the inductees are Marks & Spencer Aquaculture Manager Patrick Blow; Simon Bush, professor and chair of the Environmental Policy Group at Wageningen University; Lukas Manomaitis, U.S. Soybean Export Council (USSEC) aquaculture program lead technical consultant-Southeast Asia; and Conservation International Director of Aquaculture Dane Klinger. Made up of 12 seats total, the SOC appointed the new members during its biannual meeting, held virtually on 16 July.

The new cohort replaces Sebastian Belle, executive director of the Maine Aquaculture Association; Estelle Brennan, head of sustainability U.K. at Labeyrie Fine Foods; Steve Otwell, professor emeritus at the University of Florida’s Department of Food Science and Human Nutrition; and Michael Tlusty, associate professor of sustainability and food solutions at the University of Massachusetts-Boston’s School for the Environment.

Belle, Brennan, Otwell, and Tlusty had been a part of the SOC since its inception in 2008. Committee members are permitted to serve three-year terms, with a maximum of four terms allowed, GAA confirmed.

“We owe Sebastian, Estelle, Steve and Michael a debt of gratitude for their 12 years of service and commitment to responsible aquaculture. They brought knowledge, integrity and independence to standards development and improvement processes at a time when the Best Aquaculture Practices third-party certification program was in its infancy. We would not be where we are today without their hard work and dedication,” Best Aquaculture Practices Standards Coordinator Dan Lee said.

Lee, who manages the SOC, added that the new members offer a bevy of talent and experience.

“At the same time, we welcome Patrick, Simon, Lukas and Dane to the SOC,” Lee said. “Patrick advises Marks & Spencer, a retailer well known for its commitment to sustainable sourcing, and he is also an active finfish and shellfish farmer in his own right. Simon brings his expertise on the design and effectiveness of public and private environmental governance arrangements for fisheries and aquaculture. Lukas is an aquaculture expert who leads research programs in seven Southeast Asian countries for USSEC. And Dane brings a wealth of expertise in aquaculture, marine policy, fish physiology, environmental science and economics. The SOC cup is positively overflowing with renewed talent!”

The SOC’s makeup consists of one-third conservation, one-third academia, and one-third industry. The committee is responsible for directing the drafting of the BAP standards by technical committees and reporting its recommendations to the GAA board of directors for final approval. Moreover, “with assistance from the BAP standards coordinator, the SOC also coordinates revisions and other aspects of standards development and improvement,” GAA said.

More than 2,400 processing plants, farms, hatcheries, and feed mills in 35 countries worldwide are certified by the BAP third-party aquaculture certification program, which focuses on environmental responsibility, social accountability, food safety, and animal health and welfare.


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