U.S.-based SouthFresh Aquaculture is one step closer to being eligible to offer three-star Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) catfish.
SouthFresh Feeds enrolled its feed mill in the iBAP program earlier this year, a precursor to the BAP certification program. The iBAP program is a deadline-driven plan providing technical support for facilities committed to full BAP certification.
SouthFresh Aquaculture’s processing plant in Eutaw, Alabama, has been BAP certified since October 2009, and one of its farms was BAP certified in January 2016. With the BAP certification of its feed mill, SouthFresh Aquaculture would earn three-star BAP status, meaning that its processing plant, farm and feed mill are BAP certified.
Having the feed mill enrolled in the iBAP program sets up SouthFresh to become the first three-star BAP catfish company in the United States, and potentially the first four-star BAP catfish company later this year. SouthFresh Aquaculture is currently pursuing BAP certification for its hatchery as well, meaning it would then be eligible to offer four-star BAP catfish. Four star is the highest designation in the BAP third-party certification program.
“This has been a long time in coming,” said Peter Redmond, BAP’s vice president of market development. “SouthFresh is demonstrating real leadership within the catfish industry and taking very strong and proactive actions to demonstrate its commitment to selling responsible, sustainable product to the marketplace. We applaud this action and welcome others to follow.”
As a leader in catfish feed research, SouthFresh Feeds understands the importance of producing safe, nutrient dense feed for catfish, said the company. Along with BAP certification, SouthFresh Feeds is also pursuing Safe Feed Safe Food Certification. These certifications will be a first in the U.S. catfish feed industry.
SouthFresh Aquaculture is a unique catfish processor in that its parent company, Alabama Farmers Cooperative (AFC), is a true farmer co-operative that’s 100 percent owned by U.S. farmers. AFC is known for its Bonnie Plants division, which recently partnered with Scotts Miracle Gro, establishing a powerhouse team in consumer lawn and garden. This distinct structure of SouthFresh allows for strong partnerships with catfish farmers industry wide.
Through field service assistance to their catfish growers, proprietary feed formulas produced at its feed mill, and strength of BAP programs, SouthFresh is positioned to excel and advance the quality and health of its supply chain, said the company.
At the end of March, there were 1,165 BAP-certified processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills worldwide.
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.