Almost 20 years on, GlobalGAP continues to evolve its aquaculture standards

A GlobalG.A.P. panel at Seafood Expo Global 2023

International sustainability certification standard GlobalG.A.P. is one year away from the 20th anniversary of the release of its first aquaculture standard.

GlobalG.A.P.’s new aquaculture standard, its sixth version, was released in 2022 and came with several new forward-thinking ideas on applying the certification to aquaculture and feed. During a press conference at Seafood Expo Global – which took place from 25 to 27 April in Barcelona, Spain – GlobalG.A.P. Managing Director Kristian Moeller and a panel of guests from the seafood industry reviewed the new standards and how they continue to evolve.

Foremost among those, Moeller and Remko Oosterveld, an aquaculture expert with GlobalG.A.P., was a larger emphasis on the standards for animal welfare, including a new standard that completely forbids shrimp-farming companies from using eyestalk ablation if they want to keep the GlobalG.A.P. “GGN” eco-label.

Eyestalk ablation involves farmers removing either one or both of a shrimp’s eyestalks, which encourages the shrimp to spawn.

“A retailer in Germany asked us whether eyestalk ablation is a normal process in aquaculture,” Moeller said.

That question snowballed for the organization into examining potential animal welfare issues, and eventually led to the new standard banning the practice after GlobalG.A.P. investigated whether or not it was possible to farm effectively without using it.

“Basically the answer is yes, this is doable, and we believe this is best practice," Moeller said.

Worker well-being is also a part of the new standards, with 36 percent of the criteria to earn a GGN label now focused on ensuring sound labor practices. 

“We also developed a new feed standard which will become obligatory, and incorporated the responsible sourcing of feed materials,” Moeller said.

Metro Food Sourcing General Manager Caroline Brunias said the GlobalG.A.P. label is an important component to the company’s buying process. The certification helps the company find the right suppliers that are “trustable” and willing to develop programs that the company wants to pursue, she said.

“We trust in this certification,” Brunias said. “The GGN label helps our customers understand that we source farmed fish from responsible and trustworthy sources.”

Metro Food Sourcing purchases ... 

Photo by Chris Chase/SeafoodSource

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