The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is launching a program designed to help aquaculture farmers attain Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification, the organization announced in late January.
The new program is called iBAP, with the “i” representing “improver.” It provides incentive to aquaculture facilities capable of attaining BAP certification to engage in a deadline-driven improver program, providing the assistance and encouragement necessary to apply for BAP certification.
Currently, about 5% of global aquaculture production is third-party certified, in terms of volume. GAA’s mission is to feed the world through responsible aquaculture, and iBAP will create incentive for aquaculture producers to improve and ultimately achieve BAP certification.
“iBAP will incentivize improvement by opening new business opportunities. Improver programs are well supported by the marketplace,” said GAA Development Director Iain Shone. “The message is strong: Sign up to iBAP and your product can be supplied to a greater range of customers wishing to support the development of responsible aquaculture. If a facility benefits then they are more likely to make improvements on the ground and move into certification.”
iBAP is to target farms predominantly but is open to other parts of the aquaculture supply chain, e.g. hatcheries. Facilities can apply directly or through organisations acting on their behalf, such as a processor or buyer.
iBAP’s aim from the outset is BAP certification. Facilities are required to agree to a step-by-step improvement plan with clearly defined timeframes. Failure to comply will result in dismissal from the program.
“It’s a strict program,” Shone advised. “But with the potential for increased demand and the backing of IDH (The Sustainable Trade Initiative) there is a lot of incentive.”
IDH has created the Farmers in Transition Fund that can provide financial support for the required changes identified through iBAP. Facilities accepted for iBAP will be recognized with a listing on the BAP website. For information on how to apply, email iBAP@gaalliance.org.