National Fish & Seafood: Progress on sustainability of Thai-, Vietnamese-sourced shrimp

Published on
March 29, 2016

The Thai government and private companies are making progress on human rights abuses and other issues, James Baros, aquaculture and sustainability manager for major U.S. supplier National Fish & Seafood, told SeafoodSource. In addition, more Best Aquaculture Practice-certified 3 and 4-star shrimp from Thailand and Vietnam will be available this year via NF&S.

The Thai government’s recent initiatives will help buyers regain trust in Thai shrimp processing, Baros said.

“We see progress on the part of the Thai government, trying to stamp out the corruption. They are also working with some NGOs to try to prevent trafficking in the seafood sector,” Baros said. “Also, the Thai government is requiring new tracing documents, which should help to implement some level of traceability into the feed portion of the supply chain.”

NF&S is also making progress in Thailand. Nearly 10 years before the negative publicity surrounding human rights abuses in shrimp peeling houses that occurred last year, NF&S chose not to do business with any processor using outside peeling sheds that did not have BAP certification or other relevant certifications. In addition, NF&S’s Thai shrimp packers all switched to in-house peeling.

Now, NF&S will be able to source more BAP-certified shrimp via its partnership with Good Luck Products in Thailand, which received its third BAP star earlier this week with the certification of their hatchery. Plus, Good Luck’s feed mill outside of Bangkok is expected to receive BAP certification next month, which will give the company four BAP stars.

“They supply our 19 contracted BAP farms with the inputs from this feed mill and hatchery. All of the farms we have had BAP-certified in Thailand will produce 4-star shrimp,” Baros said.

NF&S is now working with Good Luck and the GAA to carry out group certification on a cluster of farms near its hatchery, feed mill, and processing plant expanding its offering of 4-star shrimp.

In addition, NF&S recently signed a memorandum of understanding with the Global Aquaculture Alliance and Minh Phu, the largest exporter and shrimp processor in Vietnam, to get 824 small shrimp farms certified to the BAP group standard.

“We have firm commitments now that we will begin working together to drive improvements on these farms, which will ultimately lead to a group certification,” James Baros, aquaculture and sustainability manager for NF&S, told SeafoodSource.

After improvements are made and group certification is obtained, a signficiant supply of BAP-certified shrimp will be available to NF&S and Minh Phu.

“Currently, we are not importing any shrimp from these farms into the U.S., because our buyers require BAP 2-star and up. Now, they can gain access to the market,” Baros said.

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