Pictured from left to right at the Jan. 27 MoU signing in Yanbu, Saudi Arabia, are GAA President George Chamberlain, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia Minister of Agriculture H.E Abdul Rahman bin Abdul Muhsen Al-Fadhly and SAS Chairman Engr. Ahmad R. Al-Ballaa.
The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) has signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Saudi Aquaculture Society (SAS) in which the country’s aquaculture facilities will be required to earn Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification.
As part of the MoU, all existing Saudi Arabia processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills will be required to attain BAP certification by the end of 2016, and BAP certification will be a condition of licensing new aquaculture facilities by ADMA.
Effectively, the commitment establishes the BAP third-party certification program as the national standard for all Saudi Arabia aquaculture facilities.
The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia has pledged to grow its seafood production to 600,000 metric tons by 2030. SAS and the Aquaculture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture for the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia (ADMA) understand that aquaculture can be expanded in Saudi Arabia, but only if it is done sustainably and responsibly.
“We are delighted to have been selected to work with the aquaculture industry of in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia as a resource in support of its planned growth to 600,000 metric tons of seafood production,” said GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens. “The commitment of the Aquaculture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture along with that of the Saudi Arabian Aquaculture Society combined with our resolve is a powerful example of what it takes to achieve great results.”
In the MoU, ADMA agreed to provide direction, support and resources to aquaculture facilities pursuing BAP certification, while SAS agreed to act as a coordinator and liaison between the BAP program, ADMA and Saudi Arabia aquaculture facilities. In turn, GAA agreed to provide technical support to SAS and its existing and future members as Saudi Arabia aquaculture facilities pursue BAP certification.
In January 2015, National Aquaculture Group, an SAS member, (NAQUA) became the Middle East’s first company to earn BAP certification, as its processing plant, shrimp farm, barramundi farm, shrimp hatchery and shrimp and barramundi feed mill all attained BAP certification.
At the end of 2015, 1,058 processing plants, farms, hatcheries and feed mills were BAP-certified, up from 701 BAP-certified facilities a year ago. BAP is the world’s most comprehensive third-party aquaculture certification program, with standards encompassing environmental responsibility, social responsibility, food safety, animal health and welfare and traceability.