Vietnam: Seafood export targets by 2020

As the year 2010 is over, the Seafood Export Development Program in the period 2005- 2010 approved under the decision No.242/2006/QD-TTg dated October, 2006 has accomplished its final steps. It is time to go behind what has been achieved and what has not so as to set targets for the next 5 and 10 years.

Great achievements.

First of all, it is undeniable that the fisheries sector in the past years has still maintained its inherent growth, playing a leading role in the industrialization and modernization of the agriculture and rural areas, as well as drastically transforming itself into a major producing industry in the country’s economy in general. Read more of this post

Pangasius farm meet hygiene standards

Leading exporters and breeders of the tra fish (pangasius) in the Cuu Long (Mekong) Delta are taking extreme care to conform to globally accepted health and hygiene standards, a Viet Nam News investigation has found.

 

Visits to several ponds and factories in Dong Thap and An Giang – two delta provinces that have the largest and most intensive tra fish farming areas – showed that farmers were complying strictly with the Global GAP or SQF 1000 standards.

The Global GAP (Good Agriculture Practices) standard requires seafood products to be produced in a manner that reduces detrimental environmental impacts including the use of chemicals. It also ensures a responsible approach to worker health, safety and welfare.

The SQF 1000 (Safe Quality Food) standard, meanwhile, requires clean ponds, the fish fry to be free of antibiotics, and the fish feed to be hygienic and free of banned antibiotics. It also requires that the fish has been cared for with strict disease protection measures and that details of all farming processes are recorded and maintained.

In Dong Thap Province, nine out of 11 companies that have the capacity to produce seafood for export have either filed applications to acquire the Global GAP certification or have been awarded the certification by Bureau Veritas.

Four of them received the Global GAP certification for their production process products this year, and the remaining five will complete filing their applications early in 2011.

“If the companies are in the process of filing their applications, it means that they have already started raising fish in compliance with the standard,” said Trinh Thi Be Ba, deputy head of the Aquaculture Division under the Dong Thap Department of Fisheries.

The nine companies have their own farming areas, and the total area devoted to raising under Global GAP standards is 308.4 hectares.

Besides, these companies also have co-operated with local farmers by providing them with quality fry, better breeding techniques and harvesting practices, according to Ba.

Breeding tra fish according to Global GAP standards has helped the province’s seafood sector produce export products that fetch prices that are 10 to 20 per cent higher, according to Le Hoang Vu, acting director of the Dong Thap Department of Fisheries.

An Giang Province has its own model – the An Giang Pure Pangasius Union (APPU) – to produce tra fish under the SQF 1000 or Global GAP standards. The model has many groups of farmers in the same geographical territory breed the fish for 17 exporters in the province.

Tran Anh Dung, director of the An Giang Department of Fisheries, said four leading export companies have been most successful with this model. They have 155ha of fish farms with an annual capacity of 130,000 tonnes a year, accounting for nearly 50 per cent of total production in the province.

Clean, hygienic

The Vinh Hoan Corporation and Hoang Long Seafood Company, two pioneers in breeding tra fish under Global GAP standards in Dong Thap Province, manage their farms very strictly.

During an unannounced visit by Viet Nam News to one of Vinh Hoan Corporation’s My Xuong farms, the farm managers stopped us at the gate for a five-minute check to ensure we were not carrying any substances that can be harmful to their fish like chemicals or paints.

They also requested a declaration from the guests about their health condition and history over the previous two days on the off chance that the farm could get infected with harmful bacteria from other places.

My Xuong, the 20ha farm on an islet on the Tien River (one of two major branches of the Mekong River) has 13 ponds to breed fish and two wastewater treatment ponds. The location of the ponds in the direction of the river flow facilitates hygienic maintenance.

The farm starts with a large pond followed by two parallel columns of six smaller ponds, and ends with two large horizontally placed ponds that collect wastewater from the 13 breeding ponds for a double-treatment arrangement.

An underground canal runs along the banks along the two columns of parallel ponds, drawing wastewater into the first of the horizontal pond for initial treatment. After this the wastewater goes through further treatment in the second pond before being released into the river.

The farm has six canteens and seven toilets around the farm to serve 42 staff and workers, ensuring no waste gets dumped into the fish ponds. “All solid waste items that we get from farming process is collected and transferred to a professional company contracted to treat waste,” said Ngo Van Quy, the farm’s manager.

At each crossroad of the banks linking the ponds, there were four rubbish bins placed to collect daily waste. “We have also placed bins in the canteens as well as the feed warehouses,” said Ngo Chi Cuong, the farm’s technical supervisor.

“We destroy every potential waste product that can harm the fish’s environment, even removing banana plants from the banks and planting papayas farther from the water’s edge that workers can benefit from.”

At the 48ha farm of Hoang Long Seafood Company in the province’s Tam Nong District, the company has allotted 20 per cent of the area for wastewater treatment. The farm has 30 breeding ponds located in a square format and a U-shape treatment canal covering the raising ponds. It also has a reserve canal for storing fresh water to feed the ponds through a system of pumps and concrete canals.

In An Giang, Vi?t Nam News also visited Nguy?n Minh Nh?’s 200ha farm with its man-made canal running along two columns of breeding ponds to draw wastewater for treatment. Nhi, former chairman of the province People’s Committee, is highly regarded by residents as a pioneer in setting up tra fish nurseries for breeding fry, instead of using wild fry from Cambodia, as was previously done.

Water, fish feed

The My Xuong farm in Dong Thap takes water for the ponds directly from the Tien River through tiny dams. The farm is entirely based on the river islet and it has tiny dams to take water from either sides.

“We take water when water levels on the river are high because of tidal pressure. Then we get the best quality of water for tra fish that doesn’t require any treatment,” said Cuong, the farm’s technician.

Be Ba of the Department of Fisheries confirmed this. “We have tested and found the water is good to raise fish without any treatment.”

Nhi’s farm in An Giang Province adopts a similar method, because it is also built on another islet on the Tien River.

According to the fisheries departments of both provinces, the islets were always unused, with no agricultural cultivation done on them.

In contrast, the farm belonging to the Hoang Long Seafood Company is built on a plot on the banks of a tributary to the Tien River. Here they treat water in the reserve canal with calcium carbonate and by planting water orchids (Eichhornia crassipes Solms).

None of the farms use wild fish or agricultural waste to feed the tra fish, according to the fisheries departments. In fact, many big companies in tra fish farming in Dong Thap and An Giang have their own feed production factories.

“Feed produced by the company meets all requirements set by the former Ministry of Fisheries; and the companies have the capacity to supply feed for other kinds of fish as well,” said Be Ba.

“Feeding the tra fish with wild fish was the method used in farms that raised tra fish in bamboo cages floating on the Tien River,” said Nhi who spared no effort to promote tra fish farming as the People’s Committee Chairman from 1991 to 2004. “But breeding fish in cages has reduced over the years because it yields low quality fish,” he said.

As in Dong Thap, the An Giang People’s Committee had also zoned areas for tra fish breeding farms, which led to a reduction in cage farming, Nhi added.

Treating sick fish

In case any of the ponds had fish with any disease, it would not be harvested, said Quy, manager of the My Xuong farm.

But for prevention purposes, antibiotics that are permitted by the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development would be used, Be Ba said. She said that each one of 11 districts in the province had aquaculture extension centres whose experts could act quickly to help farmers with any problem.

Planting water orchids is an effective wastewater treatment method, experts have found. “In case there are suspended substances in the water, calcium carbonate will be used,” said Trinh Thi Lan, a lecturer in environmental management for aquaculture at An Giang University. The calcium carbonate drags the substances to the bottom of the pond, and the mud is dredged after the surface water has been released into the river.

“Many studies have proved that the water orchid has the capacity to improve water quality from ponds and water treated thus can be released without causing harm to the environment,” Lan said.

A profusion of water orchids can be found in the farm run by the Vinh Hoan Corporation. Locals says that it also serves another purpose. The plant is used to produce handicraft products that are exported to Japan. — VNS

 

Mekong Delta, world center for Pangasius production

Vietnam’s Mekong Delta provinces are estimated to earn more than $1.3 billion (€980.3 million) from exports of 650,000 metric tons of pangasius.

The figures will contribute to bringing the total aquatic export turnover of the region in 2010 to $2.5 billion (€1.9 billion), $350 million (€263.9 million) more than that of 2009.

Can Tho city, An Giang and Dong Thap provinces led in the export of pangasius. In 2010, the region put over 790,000 hectares under aquaculture, yielding 2.2 million metric tons, an increase of 140,000 metric tons over the previous year.

The achievements were attributed to the region’s investment in building irrigation systems, strict control of breeding quality, applying production models following the standards of Good Agricultural Practices (GAP), food safety and environmental hygiene (CoC), as well as promoting of products at domestic and foreign markets.

Pangasius on the red list by WWF: the vietnamese response

Pangasius

There was no scientific evidence to justify naming the tra-fish on the World Wide Fund for Nature’s Red List, said Deputy Director of the Directorate of Fisheries, Pham Anh Tuan

Tuan disagreed with the fund’s 2010 seafood consumption report in which the fish is listed in several European countries and said that the announcement would cause many difficulties for Viet Nam’s tra raising industry and would adversely affect global consumer trends.

“The WWF’s information is insufficient as the fund used one sided and incorrect standards and scientific bases,” he said, adding that this would also impact on international trade relations.

He also said that the information was only released by the fund’s branches in European countries such as Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark, not the global WWF.

This week, the Directorate of Fisheries would arrange a conference to clarify the problem with the WWF’s representative in Viet Nam, Tuan said.

Tra-fish were added to the Red List of Threatened Species due to the threat of pollution and a shortage of food.

Regarding this matter, the Viet Nam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) also said that no concrete evidence had been given to that effect.

In some EU countries such as Belgium and Germany, the fish had been put into different categories, according to the association.

The association also said that in the past year, tra-fish had become one of the most popular seafood products chosen by European consumers for family meals due to its safe quality and reasonable price.

VASEP confirmed that most processing and exporting companies in Viet Nam had adopted a system to ensure the quality of products “from farm to fork.” Some plants and fish breeding areas in Viet Nam had also been certified as Global GAP.

VASEP’s General Secretary Nguyen Huu Dung said Viet Nam’s catfish products were exported to over 120 countries and territories around the world, and met the stringent standards of the EU.

“VASEP has sent a letter to the head of the WWF to oppose its decision and invite representatives to visit Viet Nam and inspect tra-fish processing, preservative, and export processes,” Dung said, adding that the association was urging the WWF to give an explanation or correct the matter as soon as possible.

Chairman of Khanh Hoa’s Fisheries Association Vo Thien Lang said the addition of tra-fish to the WWF’s Red List would mean Viet Nam would lose one of three key export seafood products, which in turn, would affect adversely the Mekong Delta’s farming and processing industry.” — VNS

Seafood Guide from WWF Singapore

WWF Singapore launched the Singapore Seafood Guide in Feb 2010, a pocket-sized manual to sustainable varieties of seafood, as well as the ones to avoid.

Classified according to three coloured categories for easy reference, very much like a traffic light system, “Recommended” varieties fall in the green section, while “Think Twice” falls in the orange section, and “Avoid” goes into the red section.

Those wishing to obtain a copy can download it from the WWF Singapore website here. It is also  available at Supernature, Singapore Botanical Gardens, National Geographic Shop, Sentosa Nature Discovery, and will be offered at more outlets shortly.

If you include fish in your diet, do grab a copy of this guide and make sure that you are not unwittingly contributing to overfishing of our oceans through your consumption habits.

 

Final Public comment period for the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue draft standard

WWF logo

 

 

 

01 December, 2010 -

The World Wildlife Fund-organized Shrimp Dialogue kicked off its last public  comment period on Wednesday. Feedback received during the 60-day period will be  used by the dialogue’s global steering committee to finalize its global farmed-shrimp  standards in the first half of 2011.

“It is very important that the entire shrimp industry, including retailers, farmers and scientists, continue to be involved with the development of the standards for responsible shrimp aquaculture so that they can be the most credible ones in the marketplace, and I strongly encourage all industry players to submit their comments,” said committee member Dominique Gautier.

Final Comment Period for Shrimp Standards

The last public comment period for providing feedback on the draft standard for shrimp aquaculture developed by the Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue began December 1, 2010 and will end February 1, 2011. Input received will be used by the Dialogue’s Global Steering Committee (GSC) to finalize the standards during the first half of 2011.

Please send your feedback to shrimp Dialogue coordinator Corey Peet at coreypeet@gmail.com by 11:59 p.m. EST February 1, 2011. Include your name and the organization/business you represent.

The final standards will help minimize the potential negative environmental and social impacts associated with shrimp aquaculture. Impacts from the industry include water pollution, disease outbreaks, clearing of mangrove forests and disruptions of community livelihoods.

The standards-development process is coordinated by WWF. It began in 2007 and has included more than 400 producers, conservationists, government officials, academics and other shrimp farming stakeholders. Six open Dialogue meetings have been held – in Africa, Southeast Asia, Central America and South America – and the GSC has met eight times to develop and revise the draft standards document based on feedback received. Also, the GSC has convened outreach meetings with small-scale shrimp farmers in India, Vietnam and Thailand; large-scale producers in East Africa; people who live near shrimp farms in Bangladesh, Indonesia and Brazil; government agencies that provide assistance to shrimp farmers; and shrimp buyers from Europe.

General tips for submitting comments

  • Group your comments together (e.g., general comments, comments for issue 1, comments for issue 2).
  • Ensure that you fully understand each standard so that your comments are relevant.
  • Your comments can be negative or positive but they must be constructive, clear and propose a solution to the issue raised.
  • Keep your comments targeted to the standards.
  • If you comment on a particular word, phrase or sentence, provide the page number and/or section number for that item.
  • Provide references to relevant documents you know of that support your comments.
  • Note: Commenting on the standards does not denote endorsement of the standards.

Download

- Draft standard document

- Appendix IV: White Paper on Presence and Impact of Exotic and Domesticated farms shrimp in the Wild.

- Appendix IV: Environmental and Social Issues associated with genetically modified ingredients in shrimp aquaclture feed.

- Appendix VII: Shrimp Aquaculture Dialogue Process Document.

More info on http://www.worldwildlife.org/what/globalmarkets/aquaculture/dialogues-shrimp.html

VASEP: Pangasius is 100% safe

Feeding at a Pangasius Farm, Mekong Delta

Feeding at a Pangasius Farm, Mekong Delta (Source: Qualasa Expertise)

This month, Vietnam’s pangasius industry has found itself on the defensive, countering attacks from critics such as Scottish MEP Struan Stevenson and the U.S.-based Catfish Farmers of America (CFA), who accuse farmers of raising fish in unsanitary conditions and processors of exploiting workers. Following Stevenson’s remarks to the European Parliament, the Vietnam Association of Seafood Exporters and Producers (VASEP) invited the politician to visit the country’s fish farms and processing plants, confident that witnessing the industry first-hand will change his perspective.

 

And, according to VASEP, Stevenson has accepted the invitation and will visit Vietnam next year.

In an exclusive interview with SeafoodSource, VASEP seeks to clear up the misperceptions surrounding Vietnam’s burgeoning pangasius industry.

Hedlund: Both Stevenson and the CFA have accused Vietnam’s pangasius industry of raising fish in unsanitary conditions. Stevenson went as far as to call the Mekong River “filthy.” Are their claims unfounded and unfair?
VASEP:
The claims made in both instances are not only unfair and unfounded, but they are also clearly based on outdated information. Today, 100 percent of our companies farm in ponds away from the Mekong River, not in the Mekong River itself. We are producing food; for that reason, our companies are committed to good farming and manufacturing practices. This means that it is our practice as an industry to monitor water quality on an ongoing, regular basis, both the incoming water and the effluent. In addition, because the river is a national treasure, the Mekong River Commission has taken strong measures to protect the resource.

Can Tho University and the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership have conducted independent research and produced a substantial report [called] “Water Quality Monitoring in Striped Pangasius Farms in the Mekong River Delta.” In this research, they measured different physical and chemical parameters of river water, pond water and outlet water. They have concluded that the water used in catfish production systems — at inlets, culture ponds, and outlets — measures as being within acceptable ranges of national and international standards for aquaculture.

As an industry, Vietnam is working hard to improve not only its image abroad but also its practices. The leading companies that export to both the EU and U.S. markets meet or exceed many of the rigorous global standards — GlobalGAP for the farms and SQF 1000, USDC and BRC for processing plants. In addition, several leading exporters are now undergoing or preparing to undergo Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) audits for eventual certification.

What is VASEP and Vietnam’s pangasius industry doing to promote that pangasius is farmed in sanitary conditions and meets international aquaculture standards?
VASEP: The obvious answer is not enough. Culturally, the Vietnamese people tend to be very modest and do not like to advertise or brag about our products or practices. But the attacks on our industry and our companies have been harmful to the people for whom aquaculture has become a way out of poverty as well as on our reputation as a country. VASEP plans to take new measures to protect our reputation as a global producer of seafood — finfish and shrimp.

Stevenson and the CFA claim that they’re trying to protect consumers in the name of food safety. But critics say this is really a matter of international trade politics and protectionism, not food safety. Do you agree?
Everyone knows the catfish campaign is not about food safety; this is not a food-safety issue at all. While the U.S. catfish farmers want to protect their interests, the reality is that we are not the problem. They are limited by the cost of raw materials (as are all producers of farmed seafood) and nothing we are doing will change what they must charge for their products. A better strategy for them would be to create high-value products, not try to bash the competition.

As the Sustainable Fisheries Partnership just announced, there is no food-safety issue with pangasius from Vietnam. The issue is really a “red herring.” We are not aware of anyone reporting getting sick from eating the fish we produce. At the same time, we are aware that in the United States people died and got very sick from eating peanuts that came from the South, as well as eggs and other agricultural products. We believe one can then conclude that the Catfish Farmers are really more concerned about keeping us out of “their” market and not so concerned about food safety.

One more point to make about this: People have all kinds of ideas in their heads about our country and our people. What they need to know is that Vietnam can and will be a major player in the growing of food, and we embrace all of the technical assistance and new approaches to make us more efficient and more quality-focused. That is how we will build our brand and our strength in world markets.

How do you respond to accusations that Vietnam’s pangasius industry is exploiting workers?
Quite frankly, we believe these critics have no idea how many jobs our industry has created, nor do they understand the benefit that aquaculture is bringing to the people of Vietnam. They have jobs and an income, where they never had this before. It is clear that to become BAP-certified, for example, our companies will also have to comply with social justice audits, which should answer our critics once and for all.

Beyond the United States and United Kingdom, what markets show the strongest growth potential for Vietnamese pangasius?
That remains to be seen. In the past week, because of careless remarks made by individuals and groups who have never even visited Vietnam, the World Wildlife Fund has red-listed pangasius. This will have terrible consequences for our industry, which prides itself on constant improvement, on quality standards that are the most stringent in the world, and on bringing economic benefit to people and communities.

 

Source: SeafoodSouce

Vietnam’s seafood exports reach nearly US$7 billion by 2015

 

The Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development (MARD) has recently held a workshop on seafood export strategy in 2011 – 2015 and vision to 2010. Accordingly, seafood export would reach about US$6.5 – 6.7 billion by 2015.

The key markets remain EU, the U.S. and Japan accounted for 60 – 65%. All concentrated shrimp and pangasius farming areas of more than 1 ha will meet BAP or GAP standards and satisfy the traceability.

Seafood production for export will reach 1.5 – 1.7 million MT. Seafood raw materials for export processing of 3.2 – 3.5 million MT (of which domestic materials 2.5 – 2.6 million MT) will include 600,000 MT of farmed shrimp, 1.65 million MT of pangasius, 250,000 MT of clam, 165,000 MT of marine finfish, 200,000 MT of tilapia). Another 490,000 MT of raw material will come from catching and 600,000 – 700,000 MT from abroad.

The international market is not saturated, consumption demand in countries is till growing strongly. For many years, China has remained the largest seafood exporter in the world. However, this market is down in export volume due to loss of reputation for the quality and increasing domestic consumption demand. Therefore, China is able to become a seafood importing country. This is a great opportunity for Vietnam to earn US$8 – 10 billion from export seafood if good strategies and action plans are made.

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF

Pangasius

Pangasius has been moved onto the red list of various updated seafood guides published by World Wildlife Fund (WWF) this year.

The freshwater farmed fish, a staple in the portfolios of seafood companies in Europe, is on the red list for guides WWF has launched for 2010 in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium, Norway and Denmark, having been previously on the yellow list.

Being on the red list means WWF advises buyers to look for an alternative seafood choice. For species on the yellow list, WWF recommends consumers can stil  buy, but chose as secondary to species on the green list.

The downgrading is “down to problems with governance,” WWF International Global Seafood Leader, Mark Powell, told IntraFish. “Changes can take place when we have new information. This year we have updated our scoring mechanism for farmed fish and we are in the process of doing the same for wild fish.”

In some cases, the guides have different ratings or more detailed ratings, depending on what is available in themarket, he said.

So, for Germany and Belgium, organic pangasius is on the green list. In the guide for Belgium, pangasius is also on the yellow as well as red list, with the red list marked for pangasius sold in retail giant Delhaize Group.

The WWF looks at the various sourcing points available in the market and distils that into the guide, that is, by its very nature, abbreviated, Powell said. “We give our business partners much more detailed information. For example, the information on pangasius that a retailer like Edeka wil  get wil  be much more comprehensive.”

The WWF is moving toward a harmonized, global stance on communicating information to consumers and businesses on seafood, said Powell.

The most information is included as to the reason behind the red listing on the Danish list. “A major problem is that farms pollute the natural environment around them, because nutrients, medicines and pesticides are washed into the surrounding rivers and lakes, and because there is a risk that the farmed fish spread disease to wild fish stocks,” the listing reads. “Furthermore, there is no assurance that the feed used in production does not come from overfished wild stocks.”

The listing also mentions the move toward Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC)-labeled pangasius, which is expected to hit markets in 2011.

“As long as the ASC is not in the market, you do not know pangasius is farmed sustainably. Therefore, WWF recommends that you find an alternative. Try one species from the green list instead,” reads the Danish guide. The WWF red listing follows an attack on pangasius by a politician in Europe and an anti-pangasius feature on the U.S. TODAY program.

Last week, Conservative member of the European Parliament Struan Stevenson caused a stir in the seafood industry when he said pangasius is farmed by “slave labor” in the “filthy” Mekong River in Vietnam.

U.K.-based seafood firms Findus Group and Birds Eye Iglo Group both issued statements defending pangasius’ place in the European seafood market.

Source: IntraFish Media

Read also on our blog:

WWF Pangasius ranking: science or marketing? (13 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: Vietnam rejects WWF claim, says its catfish clean (6 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: the Vietnamese response (7 december 2010)

Pangasius on the RED LIST by WWF: WWF answers to VASEP (7 december 2010)

 

 

Tilapia farm in Honduras first to be compliant with Aquaculture Dialogue Standards


 

 

 

 

 

 

October 22, 2010.Regal Springs Tilapia farm Aquafinca

in Honduras was the first aquaculture operation to be audited by the Institute for Marketecology (IMO) for compliance with the International Standards for Responsible Tilapia Aquaculture (ISRTA), which were completed last December by the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue.

This was the first of a number of ‘pilot’ audits scheduled under an agreement between WWF and GLOBALG.A.P. The audit was performed in the week of September 20, 2010, by auditors from the Institute for Marketecology (IMO), a world-wide operating certification organisation based in Switzerland that has been accredited for auditing against the GLOBALG.A.P aquaculture standards, as well as complying with the requirements for Certification Bodies (CBs) that want to audit against the ISRTA.

Letter of compliance

The positive outcome of this first audit result in an interim letter of compliance with  the ISRTA standards, which is issued today to Regal Springs by IMO.“IMO has a very strong department of experts in the field of aquaculture and it was a logical and important step to proceed with these new environmental and social standards. We are pleased to announce that the audits carried out at Aquafinca, Regal Springs Tilapia, Honduras were successful and the letter of compliance could be issued by IMO” says Dr Peter Schaumberger, the new Chief Exective of IMO.

Mike Picchietti, President/Director of Sales of Regal Springs adds: “As a member of the Global  Steering Committee of the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue, I am very pleased that wehave completed this first pilot audit with a positive result. We are planning for additional audits at other locations in the coming months.”

Jose Villalon, Aquaculture Program Director of World Wildlife Fund which initiated and coordinated the Aquaculture Dialogues: “We are delighted that after many years of hard work by so many people involved in the process, the first tilapia farm has now been audited and was found compliant with the Aquaculture Dialogue standards, and congratulate Regal Springs, who have been highly involved in the Tilapia Aquaculture Dialogue, with this great result.”

Pre-ASC assessment GLOBALG.A.P/WWF agreement

This is the first audit that took place under the agreement between WWF and GLOBALG.A.P in order to allow aquaculture operations to be audited against the standards developed by the Aquaculture Dialogues in the period before the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) has fully set up their verification scheme. The Aquaculture Dialogue standards are added on, in their entirety, to the GLOBALG.A.P standards. In the past months, WWF and GLOBALG.A.P organized several training sessions for GLOBALG.A.P accredited CBs interested in also auditing farms against the ISRTA standards. Under the WWF/GLOBALG.A.P agreement, auditors from CBs accredited by GLOBALG.A.P who have followed this training as well as SA8000 training can perform the combined audits.

The ASC verification scheme

On September 15, the Aquaculture Stewardship Council (ASC) announced their appointment of Accreditation Services International (ASI) as their international, independent accreditation body. Only ASI accredited CBs will be allowed to issue ASC certificates to operations that are in compliance with the standards, and the certificate will allow them to use the ASC consumer-facing label which is expected to be launched by mid-2011. Successful audits of producers compliant with ISRTA standards carried out under interim WWF/GLOBALG.A.P agreement will not result in a consumer-label – it is a B2B initiative.

Philip Smith, CEO of the ASC: “The  ASC congratulates Regal Springs as the first tilapia farmer complying with the International Standards for Responsible Tilapia Aquaculture. This is a good opportunity for the ASC to use the experience gathered in this and future audits of tilapia farms to be done by GLOBALG.A.P accredited CBs in the further development of the ASC accreditation and verification scheme. Once the ASC accreditation and certification scheme is in place, consideration will be given to ASC certification of this Regal Springs farm.”

Institute for Marketecology (IMO)

The Institute for Marketecology (IMO), Switzerland is one of the first and most experienced international bodies for the inspection, certification and quality assurance of sustainably produced products. IMO has been active in the field of organic and sustainable certification world-wide for more than 20 years. The lead office of the IMO group AG is set in Weinfelden and has 9 full fledged international companies and more than 20 smaller offices, mainly in the developing countries. The IMOgroup AG employs more than 350 experts worldwide for the certification of operations in more than 90 countries. IMO is a pioneer in the certification of aquaculture and fisheries operations: Since many years it offers inspection and certification according to important standards for the entire supply chain world-wide and has developed specific control systems.

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