Milan, Italy-based nonprofit Friend of the Sea (FoS) is revising its Sustainable Aquaculture and Fish Welfare certification standards and their respective audit guidance, with the aim of strengthening sustainability and farm management criteria.
The revision process opened for public consultation on 4 December, 2020, with comment invited from stakeholders and interested parties until 1 February 2021.
“To achieve sustainability in aquaculture, we need to hear from everyone who has something useful to add,” Friend of the Sea Executive Director Paolo Bray said. “Our revision process begins with an open-ended submission period, where we welcome ideas and documents from all relevant stakeholders.
Friend of the Sea standards seek to address the negative effects of aquaculture on the marine environment, and include criteria on fish welfare. Standards are revisited and updated on a regular basis as part of the organisation’s alignment process.
One important change in the latest revision is the merging of the FoS-Aqua Inland and FoS-Aqua Marine standards into one unique standard, FoS-Aqua Inland-Marine Standard Version 4. Twenty four brand-new species-specific Fish Welfare Standards and their related audit guidance are also included in the revision process.
The updates will improve consistency when auditing management of the aquaculture system, tightening up on areas including location of sites, infrastructure, origin of eggs or smolts, feeding, use of GMO products and growth hormones, disease prevention and application of veterinary drugs and chemicals, management of water and waste waters, hazardous substances, energy management, social accountability, legal compliance, risk assessment, and overall waste management, the organization said.
Once all feedback has been received, FoS will review and aggregate the comments into a further draft of the proposed new standards, and their acceptance will be voted on internally.
To ensure the process is fair and transparent, once the revision process is complete, a summary of the process, along with the anonymized comments, will be made publicly available, FoS said.
FoS advised its stakeholders are to its terms of reference for information about the scope and objectives of the revision process, guidance on making comments and suggestions, and timelines and the decision-making process.