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First Tilapia, Catfish Farms Certified To Best Aquaculture Practices Standards

BAP Program Celebrates 200th Facility

January 29, 2009

First Tilapia, Catfish Farms Certified To Best Aquaculture Practices Standards

The growing list of over 200 aquaculture facilities certified to the Best Aquaculture Practices standards around the world now includes facilities that raise and process tilapia and channel catfish.

In early January, Elite Seafood’s operation in Beihai, Guangxi Province, China, became the first tilapia farm to complete BAP certification. A leader in tilapia farming, Elite Seafood raises its fish in cages. The tilapia are processed in the company’s state-of-the-art Beihai Beilian Frozen Foods Industry plant, which is also BAP-certified. The tilapia can be traced back to the farm operations using the Trace Register traceability component of the BAP certification.

Jason Carter, marketing manager at Elite Seafood, said that by implementing BAP standards, “we can better meet the important social and environmental demands of our customers and the growing market for wholesome seafood produced in adherence to thorough and strict standards.”

The farm and plant operations of Harvest Select Catfish in the southern United States were certified January 9. Their certifications also pushed the total for BAP-certified facilities over the 200 mark.

Harvest Select Catfish is one of the largest vertically integrated, privately owned catfish processors in the U.S. Founded in 1991, it has farms in Alabama, Mississippi and Arkansas, with processing facilities in Uniontown, Alabama, and Eudora, Arkansas. The company currently processes over 360 metric tons of catfish weekly.

“One of the commitments we made during our reorganization was to make sure we had the processes in place to qualify for the BAP certification,” Harvest Select President Randy Rhodes said. “This is another aspect of our quality story — from the very finest fingerlings to our processing to our packaging — that defines Harvest Select.”

The Best Aquaculture Practices standards are developed by the Global Aquaculture Alliance, the leading standards-setting organization for farmed seafood, via species-specific technical committees under the guidance of a Standards Oversight Committee with broad stakeholder representation. Facility certifications are implemented through site inspections directed by the Aquaculture Certification Council.

The BAP standards address environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare and food safety in a voluntary certification program for shrimp farms and hatcheries, tilapia and channel catfish farms, and seafood processing plants. Additional standards for feed mills and other species are under development.

For more information on Best Aquaculture Practices certification, visit www.gaalliance.org/bap.html or contact Daniel Lee at dangaelle@aol.com. Visit www.aquaculturecertification.org to apply for BAP certification.

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