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How does BAP-certification work?

“We absolutely support and look for the BAP as the primary certification for aquaculture.”

— Scott C. Williams, B.J.’s Wholesale Club

What is BAP?

The Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) program is an international certification system that verifies environmentally and socially responsible processes under which farmed shrimp, salmon, tilapia, Pangasius, mussels and other finfish and crustacean species are produced.

BAP-certified farms, feed mills, hatcheries and processing plants have traceability documentation and certification that assures retail, foodservice and wholesale buyers that the aquaculture operations apply responsible aquaculture practices that minimize environmental impacts, respect workers’ rights and produce wholesome products.

BAP certification defines the most important elements of responsible aquaculture and provides quantitative guidelines by which to evaluate adherence to those practices. The Global Aquaculture Alliance developed the BAP seafood certification program. with the first BAP standards for shrimp farms completed in 2003. GAA has since continued to expand, update and improve the BAP standards.

What are the Best Aquaculture Practices standards?

The BAP standards for farms that raise finfish, crustaceans and mussels call for biodiversity protection, effluent limits, worker safety and strict controls on chemical use. The seafood-processing plant standards reinforce existing HACCP plans and require the ability to trace products back through the supply chain to their sources. The plant standards are benchmarked against the latest Global Food Safety Initiative food-safety requirements. The feed mill standards require a move toward sustainable sources for feed ingredients.

BAP Standards & Guidelines

How does a facility begin the certification process?

To apply for BAP certification, please review the information on the Get Certified page, including the standards and guidelines, as well as certification application forms.

To become BAP-certified, a facility must comply with the requirements stated in the BAP standards and application form. Applicants can obtain additional details on the program, certification process and costs by contacting the BAP office in Portsmouth, New Hampshire, USA — +1-603-317-5000,

Is a processing facility individually certified, or are associated operations certified, too?

Seafood processors are individually certified, but are also typically associated with BAP-certified farms or other aquaculture facilities. To encourage more small- to mid-sized aquaculture operations to become BAP-certified, the Best Aquaculture Practices program encourages both individual facility and seafood processor group certification.

map-facilitesWhat facilities make up a multi-star production group?

There are more than 1,500 BAP-certified facilities worldwide. A growing number of these facilities are associated or integrated with other BAP-certified facilities. The BAP program recognizes product from associated or integrated facilities with a “star-based” ranking system.

BAP-4starsProduct produced by a BAP-certified processing plant, BAP-certified farm(s) only, BAP-certified hatchery only and BAP-certified feed mill only

BAP-3starsProduct produced by a BAP-certified processing plant, BAP-certified farm(s) only and BAP-certified hatchery and/or feed mill only

BAP-2starsProduct produced by a BAP-certified processing plant and BAP-certified farm(s) only

OneStar   Product produced by a BAP-certified processing plant

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Are there BAP marketing resources available?

Yes, visit GAA’s marketing toolkit for BAP marketing resources.

Are certifications from other organizations required?

Aquaculture facilities that participate in BAP certification apply standardized best management practices in every phase of their operations to ensure food safety, environmental integrity, social responsibility, animal welfare and traceability. Because the comprehensive BAP standards go well beyond other aquaculture certification programs in terms of addressing important issues beyond the environment, no other certification is typically required, as it would be redundant and require unnecessary cost and time investment.

How long does BAP certification take?

After the initial application has been completed and approved, the certification process typically takes four to six months.

How are BAP-certified seafood products identified?

A “Best Aquaculture Practices Certified” mark on retail packaging tells consumers that seafood came from BAP-certified sources. When the BAP mark appears on packaging, customers know that the seafood was produced and taken to market with care. Care for the environment, care for the community and care for keeping aquaculture sustainable — now and into the future.

The BAP mark currently appears on packages containing a variety of frozen and prepared finfish and crustacean species. A certification number near the center of the mark indicates where the product was processed.

Who sells BAP-certified seafood?

Major retailers worldwide have adopted Best Aquaculture Practices certification, including global leaders such as Walmart, Kroger, Darden Restaurants, Tesco and Morrisons, which specify BAP certification for their seafood suppliers.

See our list of companies that procure BAP-certified seafood products displaying the BAP retail mark.

Additionally, the BAP program and Global Aquaculture Alliance recognize the retail and foodservice marketplace leaders who support aquaculture sustainability by endorsing the BAP program. Consumers are directed to find and buy seafood that has the “Best Aquaculture Practices Certified” retail mark at stores operated by these companies.

How are BAP standards initiated or updated?

The BAP standards are created or updated via species-specific technical committees under the guidance of a Standards Oversight Committee (SOC), which is comprised of members with broad stakeholder representation.

To initiate standards, the SOC works with GAA’s standards coordinator to form a technical committee that collectively writes a set of draft standards. After review by the SOC, the standards are modified, if needed, and posted for 60 days of public comment. Committee consideration of comments leads to a final draft that must be approved by the SOC and Global Aquaculture Alliance board before implementation.

Read complete details on the standards development process and BAP committee structure.