A group of 65 tilapia farms in Hainan, China, has enrolled in the iBAP program, becoming the first group of tilapia farms to do so.
The Fishin’ Company, a leading tilapia supplier that is capable of offering four-star BAP tilapia, is sponsoring the farmers’ participation in iBAP, which is a precursor to full BAP certification. The farmers supply The Fishin’ Company with raw material.
Launched in early 2015, the iBAP program is designed to provide assistance and encouragement to aquaculture facilities interested in pursuing BAP certification. Facilities that enroll in iBAP agree to a step-by-step, deadline-driven improvement plan. iBAP incentivizes facilities to make the improvements necessary to apply for full BAP certification.
“Since announcing our iBAP memorandum of understanding with the GAA in January, we have been very encouraged by the growth and success of the iBAP program,” said Matt Brooker, business development manager for The Fishin’ Company. “This announcement of another 65 tilapia farms in Hainan joining the program is a testament to the hard work of GAA and our pledge to improving the tilapia supply chain in China. This progress is continually made possible by our customers’ commitment to long-term, notable improvements in sustainability.”
Two months ago, Marcos Moya, manager of supply development for GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) division, led a training session with associates of The Fishin’ Company. The three-day training session involved a one-day workshop followed by two days of in-the-field application at farms and processing plants.
“We are extremely happy with the support from The Fishin’ Company,” added Marcos Moya, manager of supply development for the Global Aquaculture Alliance’s BAP division. “This is quite an achievement considering the difficulties and challenges associated with applying the procedures of responsible aquaculture to small farmers. iBAP will help The Fishin’ Company make the improvements necessary for farmers to transition to full BAP certification.”
Seven key Fishin’ Company associates were trained against the BAP finfish and crustacean farm standards and BAP seafood processing plant standards. In turn, the associates are passing what they learned in the workshop along to farmers that supply The Fishin’ Company with raw material, as part of a “train the trainer” program.
“Amigo Xiao, our Fishin’ China farm base director, is on the ground daily in Hainan improving the farmers’ ability to document yields, feed conversions, water quality and weather patterns,” said Brooker. “This type of training will help develop the practices of these farms toward full BAP certification. Without having great people like Amigo on the ground, it would be impossible to achieve the growth and progress that we have seen so far.”
Currently, nearly 50 processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills from eight countries worldwide are enrolled in the iBAP program. They represent four species (shrimp, tilapia, striped bass and crawfish) as well as aquaculture feed. So far, more than 80 aquaculture facilities have graduated from iBAP.
A division of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved global 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.