GAA Completes BAP Standards for Tilapia Farms
The Global Aquaculture Alliance of St. Louis yesterday announced it completed Best Aquaculture Practices standards for tilapia farm certification. Tilapia facilities can now achieve BAP certification by contacting the Aquaculture Certification Council, the international organization that implements the certification program.
The tilapia standards are the result of a two-year development process directed by a technical committee chaired by Ecuadoran tilapia specialist Lorena Schwarz, who also participated in the World Wildlife Fund tilapia dialogues. The process benefited from a public review in which comments were received from both conservationists and aquaculture professionals. The standards were also revised following feedback from field trials in Thailand and China.
"BAP certification provides a realistic objective for the majority of tilapia farmers, and as such will serve to shift the whole industry on a path to greater sustainability," says Daniel Lee, BAP standards coordinator. "As with the BAP standards for shrimp and channel catfish, environmental, social, food safety and traceability concerns are dealt with in a clear and consistent manner."
Whatever the system - cage or net pen farming or pond culture - farms must comply with regulations regarding the use of non-native species. Regular water quality and effluent monitoring is required. If used, drug treatments must be approved therapeutants applied only to treat diagnosed diseases. The standards also encourage producers to use methods other than hormone treatments to obtain all-male fry.
Lee says one of the most challenging issues facing the tilapia farm committee was how to address the potential of tilapia cages and net pens causing eutrophication in lakes and reservoirs with widely varying levels of circulation. The committee ultimately developed innovative standards that incorporate maximum daily feed input values based on hydraulic retention time classification. The approach is likely to be adopted as a new industry standard, Lee said.
The ACC of Kirkland, Wash., implements the BAP standards through field evaluators who conduct site inspections, effluent sampling and extensive procedural and record reviews.