GAA Launches BAP Catfish Standards
The Global Aquaculture Alliance on Friday announced the completion of its Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards for channel catfish farms. Facilities that farm catfish in accordance with BAP standards can seek certification through the Aquaculture Certification Council.
Hugh Warren, chairman of BAP's Channel Catfish Technical Committee, said certification will help catfish producers assure major seafood buyers and consumers that their products are wholesome and safe.
"A main goal of BAP is to deliver the best product that farmers can offer," says Warren. "Likewise, we trust that educated consumers will quickly reach a level at which they recognize the certification mark and have confidence in their purchasing decisions."
Certified farms can use the BAP label in advertising and on wholesale-level product labels. Integrated facilities can also use the label on retail packaging.
The new standards address farm practices related to a range of social, environmental and food-safety issues, and include quantitative guidelines and auditing procedures by which to evaluate adherence to program criteria. Farms must, for example, minimize use of chemicals and feed ingredients of marine origin, manage effluents and sediments, respect worker rights and comply with applicable regulations for resource use.
The ACC conducts site inspections, extensive record reviews and effluent sampling with required participation in an online traceability system that tracks fish from ponds to processing plants.
Although the BAP standards for channel catfish farms apply only to pond culture, other culture methods will be addressed in future standards revisions. Additional BAP standards are under development for feed mills and farms that raise pangasius, tilapia and other fish species.
For additional information on Best Aquaculture Practices certification, visit the Aquaculture Certification Council Web site at www.aquaculturecertification.org.