Guiding Principles for Responsible Aquaculture
- Shall coordinate and collaborate with national, regional and local governments in the development and implementation of policies, regulations and procedures necessary and practicable to achieve environmental, economic and social sustainability of aquaculture operations.
- Shall utilize only those sites for aquaculture facilities whose characteristics are compatible with long-term sustainable operation with acceptable ecological effects, particularly avoiding unnecessary destruction of mangroves and other environmentally significant flora and fauna.
- Shall design and operate aquaculture facilities in a manner that conserves water resources, including underground sources of fresh water.
- Shall design and operate aquaculture facilities in a manner that minimizes the effects of effluents on surface and ground water quality and sustains ecological diversity.
- Shall strive for continuing improvements in feed use and shall use therapeutic agents judiciously in accordance with appropriate regulations and only when needed based on common sense and best scientific judgment.
- Shall take all reasonable measures necessary to avoid disease outbreaks among culture species, between local farm sites and across geographic areas.
- Shall take all reasonable steps to ascertain that permissible introductions of exotic species are done in a responsible and acceptable manner and in accordance with appropriate regulations.
- Shall cooperate with others in the industry on research, technological, and educational activities intended to improve the environmental compatibility of aquaculture.
- Shall strive to benefit local economies and community life through diversification of the local economy, promotion of employment, contributions to the tax base and infrastructure, and respect for artisanal fisheries, forestry, and agriculture.
Best Aquaculture Practices Certification & Standards
To promote responsible practices across the aquaculture industry, the Global Aquaculture Alliance coordinates the development of Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification standards for hatcheries, farms, processing facilities and feed mills. The Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) standards address environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and traceability in a voluntary certification program for aquaculture facilities. BAP certification defines the most important elements of responsible aquaculture and provides quantitative guidelines by which to evaluate adherence to those practices.
The BAP program outlines standards for each type of facility, from hatchery and feed mill to farm and processing plant. The addition of new multi-species farm standards for finfish and crustacean production opened up the program to a number of new species. Similarly, seafood processing plants can now be certified to a broader range of species.
The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) developed the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification standards to encourage the use of responsible aquaculture practices in order to meet world food needs. The BAP program is a voluntary certification program for aquaculture facilities addressing the four pillars of sustainability: environmental responsibility, social responsibility, animal welfare, and food safety and traceability. BAP has certification standards for each step in the aquaculture seafood production chain, including hatcheries, farms, processing facilities, and feed mills. Each star on the BAP label (1 through 4) represents a part of the aquaculture production chain, and the star system signifies the level of certification. The BAP 4-Star certification, the highest level, covers processing plants, farms, feed mills, and hatcheries, meaning that the product was BAP-certified through the entire process.