GAA conducts 66 successful remote pilot BAP audits during COVID-19 pandemic so far
Sixty-six remote pilot audits were successfully conducted by the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program between 3 April and 9 June, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) announced on 9 June.
The pilot audits – which were conducted for BAP-certified farms (individual and cluster), hatcheries, and feed mills – were carried out at the behest of facilities, suppliers, and endorsers of the program, who remain committed to delivering “the full range of assurances” despite the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic, GAA said in a blog post.
“These pilot audits were made possible by accelerated strategic planning, guidance and oversight of BAP’s program integrity and operations teams, enthusiastic BAP-certified facilities, collaborative certification bodies (CBs) and supportive retail and foodservice partners,” GAA stated.
Responding to the pandemic on 2 April, GAA said it would be deferring increases to its BAP program fees. It also confirmed that work was being done “internally and externally to determine a process for remote audits in circumstances that prevent auditors from visiting BAP-certified facilities.”
Salmon farms nearing their due dates for annual re-certification were among the first facilities to participate in the remote audit pilots. All pilots were carefully tailored to adhere to the “comprehensive BAP standards covering the pillars of responsible aquaculture practices – environmental responsibility, food safety, social accountability, and animal health and welfare,” GAA said.
The pilots will be continuing into the summer, GAA confirmed. The organization is urging its partners and customers to contact their assigned CBs with any comments or questions related to the remote auditing process.
“BAP program remains flexible and at the ready to accommodate the needs of its certified facilities. GAA is committed to providing credible solutions during this fluid time for its partners despite disruptions across the global seafood supply chain, whether they be producers, importers, suppliers, or program endorsers in the marketplace,” GAA stated.