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GAA’s Response To Launch Of GSSI Global Benchmarking Tool

The Global Aquaculture Alliance’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification scheme intends to submit an application to the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI) following the launch of its Global Benchmark Tool at the United Nations’ Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries conference in Vigo, Spain, on Oct. 8.

“We applaud the Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative for the launch of its Global Benchmark Tool,” said GAA Executive Director Wally Stevens. “GAA will make application of its BAP third-party certification program in keeping with other benchmarking of its standards with the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and support for the Global Social Compliance Program (GSCP).

“We also recognize that the BAP program goes above and beyond the criteria by which GSSI is judging it on,” added Stevens. “The BAP program extends well beyond environmental issues to include the other major issues facing aquaculture — social responsibility, food safety, animal health and welfare, and traceability — across the entire aquaculture supply chain, including the processing plant.”

BAP certification standards are comprehensive in that they contain all of the key elements of responsible aquaculture, and they encompass the entire aquaculture supply chain — processing plants farms, hatcheries and feed mills.

“We view GSSI as one of a number of independent benchmarking programs that when taken together with GFSI, GSCP and others provide value to all aquaculture stakeholders,” said Stevens. “GSSI for us is an example of getting a good idea in play instead of waiting for the perfection others might want for their own agendas.”

GSSI’s Global Benchmark Tool includes GSSI Requirements, which seafood certification schemes need to meet to be recognized by GSSI. These requirements are grounded in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine/Inland Capture Fisheries and FAO Technical Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification.

The tool also includes GSSI Indicators, which allow schemes to display their diverse approaches and help stakeholders understand where differences exist. These are grounded in the CCRF and related FAO documents, ISO normative standards and ISEAL codes.

Last year, BAP underwent pilot testing against the updated Global Benchmark Tool.

“We encourage all certification schemes to apply to GSSI to assure the marketplace that their schemes are grounded in the Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries (CCRF) and FAO Guidelines for Ecolabelling of Fish and Fishery Products from Marine/Inland Capture Fisheries and FAO Technical Guidelines for Aquaculture Certification,” said Stevens.

About BAP
A division of the Global Aquaculture Alliance, Best Aquaculture Practices is an international certification program based on achievable, science-based and continuously improved global performance standards for the entire aquaculture supply chain — farms, hatcheries, processing plants and feed mills — that assure healthful foods produced through environmentally and socially responsible means.