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No Organic Aquaculture Standard yet for US

Following 17 years of work to introduce an organic aquaculture standard into the US, the industry is fed up and still waiting. George Lockwood from the USDA appointed Aquaculture Working Group gave an update on the situation at Aquaculture 2016 in Las Vegas.

March 3, 2016

Following 17 years of work to introduce an organic aquaculture standard into the US, the industry is fed up and still waiting. George Lockwood from the USDA appointed Aquaculture Working Group gave an update on the situation at Aquaculture 2016 in Las Vegas.

Organic standards have successfully developed in Canada and the EU, leading to the development of a successful organic niche market. The US aquaculture industry is still waiting for a proposed final rule, and now a Whitehouse agency has sent the ruling back to the USDA with major reworkings.

One of the main issues relates to the type of feed used for organic production. The ruling requires feed to be made of fish, so that it is as close to the fish\'s natural diet as possible. This means that feeds cannot incorporate GMO products, synthetic amino acids or poultry, feather or blood meals.

One of the reworkings is due to concerns over the sustainability of using wild fish in feed for organic production. In other countries, organic production accepts wild fish trimmings or fish meal and fish oil taken from sustainably certified fisheries.

However, for the US standard, a phase out of fish meal and fish oil has been proposed. Given the concerns over fishmeal and fish oil from wild fish stocks, Mr Lockwood believes that the standard may move to accept fish trimmings, particularly from Alaskan Pollock.

Another issue holding up acceptance is that of disease and sea lice, and the impact that fish farming may have on wild stocks.

In terms of shellfish production, there are concerns that it is not known what shellfish filter from the sea. Organic production of shellfish will therefore require very strict water quality regulations and production units will need to be sited in areas where water quality control can be guaranteed.

Mr Lockwood believes that it may take a new administration to get the organic standard passed, but urged people to lobby their congressmen to get things moving.

Source: Lucy Towers, TheFishSite. Read the full article here.

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