Prince Edward Aqua Farms Group — a fully integrated mollusk farming and processing company in Prince Edward Island, Canada — is the world’s second mussel farm to attain Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification since the completion of the BAP mussel farm standards in August 2014, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) announced in late January.
The company’s mussel farm sites in New London Bay, Malpeque Bay, Hillsborough Bay and Cardigan Bay earned BAP certification on Jan. 8.
Prince Edward Aqua Farms Group’s rope-grown blue mussels are marketed under the Island Gold brand and sold at retail and foodservice outlets across North America. Founded in 1989 and based in New London, PEI, the company operates a state-of-the-art processing plant with a storage capacity of 700,000 pounds of mussels. In addition to mussels, the company processes oysters, clams and quahogs.
“The Prince Edward Aqua Farms group of companies is very excited at achieving BAP certification for our mussel farms. Having achieved SQF certification at our processing facility in February 2014, we are now fully vertically integrated,” said Jerry Bidgood, the company’s general manager. “These certifications will open new doors for our company in the worldwide market as well as reassuring our current customers that we are progressive, sustainable and environmentally friendly.”
The new BAP mussel farm standards encompass all production systems for mussels, including cultivation on the seabed or on poles, and suspended cultures such as long-line culture and raft-and-rack culture. They also cover various mussel species, including blue mussels, Mediterranean mussels, Chilean mussels, New Zealand greenshell mussels and Asian green mussels.
The addition of BAP mussel farm standards represents a key advancement for the BAP program, as the new standards will be used as a template for broader mollusk farm standards that cover clams, oysters, scallops and abalone. Currently, more than 700 aquaculture facilities worldwide are BAP certified.
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.