The primary goal of the Saudi Arabian Code for Responsible Aquaculture Practices is to promote the responsible and sustainable development of the Saudi aquaculture industry, in the aim of assuring the high food-safety standards of its products, while respecting environmental and societal considerations and meeting contemporary consumers’ food safety requirements.
The Code has taken into account international recommendations, guidelines, and codes for responsible aquaculture practices such as:
■ The provisions for responsible aquaculture development contained in the FAO Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries, which was adopted by the 28th Session of the conference of the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (1995).
■ The FAO Technical Guidelines for Responsible Fisheries No. 5: Aquaculture Development (FAO Fisheries Department -1997).
■ The FEAP Code of conduct for European Aquaculture (Federation of European Aquaculture Producers –Brussels (2014)
However, while the previously stated international recommendations and codes have been taken into account, the current Code is being primarily based on the standards and guidelines required by the GAA/BAP farm certification standards. The Code focuses on the areas considered as most important for the sustainable operation and further development of the sector and has thus selected the most relevant criteria from the GAA/BAP farm standard as audit points for the subsequent SAMAQ certification.
The Saudi Arabian Code for Responsible Aquaculture Practices serves to establish guiding principles for those facilities in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia which are farming aquatic animals for human consumption.
Accordingly it serves as the official standard setting document for the certification and labelling of national aquaculture products produced under highly responsible aquaculture practices.
Guiding Principles of the Code of Conduct
The Saudi Arabian Code for Responsible Aquaculture Practices addresses the obligations of the Saudi aquaculture producers to the cultured organism, the environment, the society and the consumer.
Under this prism, Individuals, co-operatives and companies that engage in aquaculture production activities, singularly and collectively shall abide to the following Guiding Principles:
Guiding Principles of the Saudi Arabian Code for Responsible Aquaculture Practices
1. Shall consult and collaborate with Saudi national and regional authorities for the development and implementation of policies, practices and regulations. These policies should assist the achievement of environmental, economic and social sustainability of the aquaculture production sector.
2. Shall consult and co-operate with other aquaculture producers and sectoral suppliers for the development and agreement of common standards and objectives.
3. Shall plan and locate aquaculture facilities in sites whose characteristics are compatible with long term sustainable operations and with acceptable ecological effects, particularly avoiding unnecessary degradation of mangroves, coral reefs and other environmentally sensitive habitats.
4. Shall design and operate aquaculture facilities in a manner that conserves water resources, including underground sources of fresh water.
5. Shall design and operate aquaculture facilities in a manner that minimizes the effects of effluents on surface and ground water quality and sustains good environmental quality and ecological diversity.
6. Shall respect the considerations for welfare that apply to the species being raised.
7. Shall abide to and follow the relevant national Manual of Biosecurity and Standard Operating Procedures and shall take all reasonable measures necessary to avoid disease outbreaks and implement regulated containment procedures should a disease outbreak occur.
8. Shall strive for continuous improvements in feed use and shall use therapeutic agents only when needed and in accordance with the appropriate legislation and the principles of best practice.
9. Shall dispose of waste and chemicals in a manner that does not constitute a hazard to human health and the environment and in accordance with the appropriate legislation.
10. Shall co-operate with those involved in research, technological development and training activities that seek to improve the social and environmental compatibility of aquaculture.
11. Shall implement improvements in technology and in management where such advances are economically possible and can assist the sustainability of the activity and improve the social and environmental compatibility of aquaculture.
12. Shall make the best efforts to produce products of the highest quality at all stages of the aquaculture process.
GAA/BAP and Aquaculture Product Certification
Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) is the world’s most comprehensive third-party aquaculture certification program. It address environmental and social responsibility, animal welfare, food safety and traceability issues. In practice, BAP certification defines the most important elements of responsible aquaculture and provides quantitative, science-based guidelines by which to evaluate adherence to those practices. BAP certification is administered by the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), a nonprofit organization dedicated to advocacy, education and leadership in responsible aquaculture.
Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) is an international set of farm-raised seafood certification standards developed by Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA), the world's leading standards-setting organization for aquaculture seafood. It is the most comprehensive third-party certification system for aquaculture facilities, addressing every key element of responsible aquaculture, including environmental responsibility, social responsibility, food safety, animal welfare, and traceability.
Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) is an international, non-profit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible aquaculture. Established in 1997 by 59 aquaculture sector stakeholders from the Americas, Europe, Asia and Africa as a non-profit association whose mission is to further environmentally responsible aquaculture in order to meet world food needs. Moreover, GAA serves on request as a resource to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. State Department and as a Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations Liaison.
Memorandum of Understanding between ADMEWA and SAS and GAA
SAS and ADMEWA have long acknowledged that aquaculture can be greatly expanded in Saudi Arabia, but only if it is done in a sustainable and responsible manner. In this respect, on January 2016, the Saudi Aquaculture Society (SAS) and the Aquaculture Department of the Ministry of Agriculture, Water and Environment (ADMEWA) signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) with the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA).
As part of that MoU, all existing Saudi Arabia processing plants, on-growing farms, hatcheries and feed mills will be required to attain BAP certification.
Moreover, BAP certification will be a condition of licensing aquaculture facilities by ADMEWA.