Saturday, November 13, 2010

BAP Standards Oversight Committee Approves Feed Standards


BAP Standards Oversight Committee Approves Feed Standards,
Considers IOMs For Small Farms
Continued progress in standards development and market
reach was reported at the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)
Standards Oversight Committee (SOC) meeting held March 14
in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.
In his introduction, GAA Executive Director Stevens summarized
the overall progress of the BAP program. He referred to
large posters and said market demand for “two-star” product
from BAP-certified farms and processing plants is driving an
increase in farm certification, particularly at tilapia facilities.
Additional processors are becoming engaged in anticipation of
the BAP salmon farm standards.
Stevens also described the proposed new organizational
structure that would integrate the Aquaculture Certification
Council (ACC) with GAA to manage the BAP certification
process using ISO-accredited inspection bodies to conduct facility
audits. Under the plan, the SOC would become part of the
Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, a new body with charitable
status. Within the foundation, Jeffrey Peterson would direct
BAP’s education and training program.

Integrated Operating Modules
ACC President Jim Heerin joined Vice President Bill More
and Peterson in providing an update on the Integrated Operating
Module (IOM) program for multiple small shrimp farms.
In IOMs, a number of farms with similar production methods
and combined total annual production not exceeding 4,000
mt can be grouped together. All undergo full inspections and
participate in traceability, but modified administrative arrangements
allow the farms to save on certification costs. Each IOM
must have a written quality management system defining how
the group is managed to meet BAP standards criteria.

Feed Standards
The BAP feed mill standards were approved for release
pending final changes and review. Requested changes included a
requirement that sources for all fishmeal and fish oil be certified
to the International Fishmeal and Fish Oil Organisation (IFFO)
Global Standard for Responsible Supply or Marine Stewardship
Council program within three years. Until that time, feed mills
are required to develop a plan for transition to sustainable fishmeal
sources.

Tilapia, Salmon Standards
Review of the BAP standards for tilapia farms saw a request
to begin collecting fuel and energy use data so figures for direct
energy use can be calculated. The SOC recommended the establishment
of a minimum mean annual survival rate as an indicator
of fish welfare. It was also suggested that the guidelines for predator
control should be further strengthened and defined.
Progress continues to be made on the BAP standards for
salmon farms. Jon Bryan of the Tasmanian Conservation Trust
was approved to join the Salmon Farm Technical Committee.
As at tilapia facilities, fuel and energy use data will be recorded.
In the future, such topics as greenhouse gases, acidification,
biotic resource utilization, accumulated energy and eutrophication
potential may be addressed in the standards.

Introduced Species
The BAP standards require documented proof that it is legal
to farm a species in a particular place. To strengthen this, the
applicability of the International Council for the Exploration of
the Sea (ICES) Code of Practice on the Introductions and
Transfers of Marine Organisms 2005 was considered.
The code outlines requirements for member countries to
consider ecological, genetic, disease and economic impacts prior
to introducing a marine species. However, ICES only has 20
member countries, with no tropical or developing countries. It
was concluded that the BAP program is functionally equivalent
to the World Wildlife Fund tilapia standards regarding introduced
species.

Social Accountability
Various options were discussed as to how to strengthen social
accountability in the BAP standards. They could include a specific
anti-discrimination clause and bans on forced or bonded
labor. Interviews with workers could be conducted off site to
allow more freedom in responses.
Collaboration between BAP and Fair Trade certification –
which channels price premiums back to producers for social
projects and community benefits – may be considered. In a presentation,
Maya Spaull of TransFair explained that Fair Trade
certification does not aim to duplicate BAP. The program
addresses economic and social criteria in the production and
trade of agricultural products, and wants to address environmental
issues, but not through its own standards.

Audit Formatting
BAP’s shift to ISO-65-accredited certification bodies for
inspections saw a corresponding shift in the audit documents.
BAP’s original audit forms included critical and scored questions,
while the new processing plant audit has eliminated all
scored questions in favor of the yes/no responses typical of
GFSI-compliant standards.
To make the program more consistent across facility types,
possible solutions include converting scored questions “up” to
critical or “down” to recommendations in the guidelines.
Another option is to keep the scoring system, but identify persistent
problem areas and then modify the standards accordingly.
No decision on how to address the situation was made.

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