February 17, 2016
MoU to encourage Thai and Indian shrimp farms towards BAP certification
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) was signed between Rubicon Resources, a leading distributor of sustainable seafood in North America, and the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) in early February.
The pact is purposed to motivate about 285 shrimp farms in Thailand and India to achieve the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification developed by the GAA. In addition, it will also help to promote the production of four-star BAP shrimps. The four-star award states that a product is sourced from BAP-certified hatcheries, feed mills, and processing and farming sites.
In order to implement changes to qualify for the certification, 100 Indian farms and 185 Thai farms will join an iBAP improvement programme. Application is conducted with two groups of 50 Indian farms and four group of 30 Thai farms. The rest of the 65 Thai farms will apply through integrated operating modules (IOM).
A hatchery and a feed mill in India will also be part of the programme as well.
Farms are required to receive BAP certification in 12 months.
For all 250 Thailand-based farms in the watershed, the aspiration is for these sites to establish an active zonal management / aquaculture improvement project (AIP) when completed.
Gregg Small, Rubicon's vice president of technical services and sustainability, said that the iBAP programme is the "perfect solution" for awarding new farms and formerly active farms whose operations were disrupted due to the early mortality syndrome (EMS) outbreak in Thailand.
"Farms in India are typically smaller, and those farms will benefit from the assistance provided by the programme, especially farms that are part of a cooperative," Small explained. "(The programme) provides for oversight and training of the smallest family farms at a reasonable cost. I expect this joint GAA-Rubicon initiative will attract more farms than our initial target for 2016."
According to Small, the programme will benefit the biggest segment of farms that are small and do not have access to key international markets.
The iBAP programme was launched in 2014 and witnessed the enrolment of 82 facilities around the world. So far, 10 sites are BAP-certified.