The U.K. organic certifier, The Soil Association, has launched its new updated standards for organic aquaculture and seaweed, the first to be released from a wider standards review. These standards feature higher requirements than EU regulation in certain areas and will be effective immediately.
While directly based on EU regulations, the standards feature higher requirements in several areas, emphasising the humane treatment of fish and protection of the aquatic environment. Chris Atkinson, head of standards at the Soil Association, said; “Aquaculture is increasingly important as it has the potential to provide fish for global markets while limiting pressure on wild stocks which face a variety of threats. Having strict but straightforward standards for organic production will ensure that this does not come at the cost of environmental pollution or poor animal welfare. We are proud that our standards exceed those required by the EU in these key areas; the Soil Association believes in always delivering the best possible result for human health, animal welfare and the environment.”
Among the changes is the creation of dedicated standards for the production and collection of organic seaweed, which may now display the Soil Association symbol. These standards directly reflect those imposed by EU regulations.
The Soil Association’s full aquaculture standards review was launched with a public consultation in 2015, to ensure standards provide the maximum impact for animal welfare and sustainability while being straightforward and transparent for licensees. Industry experts, producers and interested consumers all contributed to the consultation. The updated standards were then produced in conjunction with the Soil Association’s independent Aquaculture Standards Committee.
The Soil Association is confident that its operators will already be meeting all of the new standards so they come into effect immediately.