As the year 2011 begins, the Best Aquaculture Practices program will celebrate the second anniversary of the first tilapia farm certified to the BAP standards.
Elite Aquaculture Co., Ltd., a large, vertically integrated farm located in Guangxi Province in southeastern China, was initially certified in January of 2009. It now produces 6,000 metric tons of tilapia a year, largely in cages on the man-made Xiaojiang Reservoir.
“We salute Elite Aquaculture for its pioneering attitude and continued efforts as a responsible tilapia producer,” said George Chamberlain, president of the Global Aquaculture Alliance. GAA, the leading standards-setting organization for farmed seafood, developed the standards against which the company was evaluated.
Elite Aquaculture is one of dozens of tilapia farms in China, Thailand, Malaysia, Ecuador, Costa Rica, Colombia and El Salvador that have achieved BAP certification. Their annual production totals nearly 73,000 metric tons.
Following a two-year development process that included field trials in Thailand and China, the BAP tilapia farm standards were completed in September 2008. They can be applied to an array of culture systems, including land and lake farming.
“BAP certification provides a realistic objective for the majority of tilapia farmers, and as such is shifting the whole industry on a path to greater sustainability,” BAP Standards Coordinator Dan Lee said. “BAP is a practical and proven system that has been readily accepted by the global market.”
The tilapia farm standards share many points with other BAP standards, including conservation of biodiversity and closely controlled water, drug and chemical management. The issue of potential eutrophication in lakes and reservoirs with widely varying levels of circulation was answered through innovative guidelines for maximum daily feed inputs based on hydraulic retention times.
The Best Aquaculture Practices program is a comprehensive, rigorous, metrics-based certification program for aquaculture – including farms, hatcheries, feed mills and processing plants. BAP standards cover the environment, social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and traceability. For more information on BAP, visit http://bap.gaalliance.org/.