Suzuki: Farmed salmon standards are ‘weak’
The David Suzuki Foundation and Living Oceans Society on Thursday called the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification standards for farmed salmon “too weak” to support any claim of sustainability or environmental or social responsibility.
The British Columbia-based environmental groups’ criticism comes on the final day of public comment period for the proposed certification standards, which the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) extended due to the amount of feedback received.
The groups said the standards don’t address the most critical environmental and social threats resulting from net-pen salmon farming, adding that the GAA is “creating a lot of confusion” by issuing standards that a vast majority of existing salmon farms will be able to adhere to without any operational changes.
“These standards suggest that most of the industry currently operates at a high level of sustainability and has effectively eliminated or minimized its threats to wild salmon and ecosystems. And that is simply not the case,” said Jay Ritchlin, director of the marine and freshwater conservation program at the David Suzuki Foundation.
“GAA certification might help buyers filter out the very worst actors from the supply chain, but that is not the same as achieving an acceptable level of sustainability,” said Shauna MacKinnon, sustainable seafood campaign manager at the Living Oceans Society.
According to the GAA, the BAP certification standards — which encompass hatcheries, farms, processing facilities and feed mills — minimize the key environmental and social impacts of aquaculture; they also address food safety, traceability and animal health and welfare.
The standards for shrimp, tilapia, channel catfish and pangasius have already been finalized. The standards for salmon, which include rainbow trout, are expected to be finalized this year.
A draft of the farmed salmon certification standards were posted for public comment in November