The number of Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP)-certified facilities jumped 3.3 percent from October to November but fell just shy of 1,800 through the first 10 months of 2017, the Global Aquaculture Alliance announced in mid-November.
It’s been an impressive year of growth for the BAP third-party certification program, with the number BAP-certified facilities hitting 1,794 through the first 10 months of this year, a 15 percent jump from the end of last year.
Of the 1,794 BAP-certified facilities, 1,084 are farms, 430 are processing plants, 186 are hatcheries and 94 are feed mills, located in 31 countries and six continents. The 1,000-plus farms produce 1.79 million metric tons of finfish and shellfish annually, mainly shrimp, salmon, tilapia, pangasius, catfish and mussels.
There have been a number of firsts in the BAP program in the past two months, including the first BAP-certified facility in Africa (Jiang’s Fish Processor Co. Ltd. crawfish processing plant in Egypt), first four-star BAP cobia company (Open Blue Sea Farm Panama S.A.), first BAP-certified oyster and scallop facility (Rushan Hope Well Foods Co. Ltd. processing plant in China) and first BAP-certified crab facility (Zhejiang Aoling Aquatic Seeding Technology Co. Ltd. hairy crab farm in China).
BAP is the world’s most comprehensive third-party aquaculture certification program, with aquaculture standards encompassing environmental responsibility, social responsibility, food safety, animal health and welfare and traceability. It’s also the only program to cover the entire aquaculture production chain — processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills.
Demonstrating the industry’s long-term commitment to responsible aquaculture, the BAP program has more than doubled in size in the past two years, growing from about 700 BAP-certified facilities at the end of 2014 to 1,500-plus facilities by the end of 2016 to nearly 1,800 facilities to date.
A division of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved performance standards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means. BAP certification is based on independent audits that evaluate compliance with the BAP standards developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance.