Salmon farming at BC. (Photo: BC Salmon Farmers)
Salmon farmers welcome organic aquaculture standard
Monday, May 14, 2012, 03:50 (GMT + 9)
The newly-released organic standards for Canada’s ocean farmers are a great example of setting a high bar for aquaculture across the country, said the British Columbia Salmon Farmers Association (BCSFA).
“This is a strong standard that will meet the consumers’ confidence in organic designations, while providing an opportunity to some of our farmers interested in achieving this certification,” said Mary Ellen Walling, executive director of the BC Salmon Farmers Association.
|Working at a salmon farm. (Photo: BC Salmon Farmers )
Organic standards for aquaculture establish additional requirements for materials approved in raising fish, controlling feed inputs, stocking densities, and use of pesticides, prohibition of antibiotics, herbicides and antifoulants, above the already-high regulations met by BC’s salmon farmers.
As they are with traditional terrestrial farming, organic standards will be targeted by a small percentage of overall producers.
The standard, which was officially released las week, has been developed over many years with the input of a diverse group of stakeholders including growers, retailers, government, researchers and environmental groups and voted on through a balanced system meeting Canadian General Standards Board (CGSB) requirements. Some members of the BCSFA have been involved with the process, and the release marks the culmination of a lot of hard work for the entire group.
“Any certification process which encourages high standards and continuous improvement of our business is a positive step,” said Walling. “It’s great to see ocean farming included in the organic menu – it’s important to some consumers and a demand some of our farmers would like to meet.”
While most of BC’s salmon farmers won’t pursue organic certification, all of the BCSFA’s members are constantly working to improve their operations within the most highly regulated food production industry in the province. While the new Canadian Organic Aquaculture standard may be an option for some, other certifications and sustainability programmes are being adopted in BC as well.
The BCSFA represents salmon farm companies and those who supply services and supplies to the industry. Salmon-farming provides for 6,000 direct and indirect jobs while contributing CAD 800 million (USD 798.95 million) to the provincial economy each year.