What is good aquaculture? <<back

Buying ‘Certified Aquaculture’ seafood…

While quality and price are always top purchasing considerations, today there are many other questions surrounding farm-raised seafood (fish and shellfish) as a source of protein. Is farm-raised fish safe to eat? Are there negative environmental or social issues associated with farm-raised seafood? Is farm-raised fish as nutritious as wild capture fish? Where is farm-raised seafood grown? ‘Certified Aquaculture’ can assist answering these questions.
Is farm-raised fish safe to eat?: Ensuring food safety is a top priority in global seafood supply chains. In addition to regulations and inspection programs, major retailers and foodservice distributors rely upon internal quality control specifications and third party certification schemes such as ‘Certified Aquaculture’ to provide additional assurance that farm-raised seafood has met rigorous food safety standards. Indeed, food safety is an integral component of the ‘Certified Aquaculture’ certification scheme which includes 56 food safety control points out of 256 control points. But we hear so much negative news on social media, how do we know if regulations, inspection programs, quality specifications and third party certification schemes work? Using Pangasius as an example, a 2016 study by the Wageningen University in the Netherlands found, “there is no food safety concern from either environmental or applied contaminant compounds in pangasius”¹. The following YouTube link explains the study in detail.
Are there negative environmental or social impacts associated with farm-raised food?: This is a very complex question. ‘Certified Aquaculture’ has 66 control points which address environmental issues (including biodiversity) and 39 control points which address social issues, out of 256 control points. ‘Certified Aquaculture’ recognizes every human activity can have positive and negative environmental and social Impacts; the objective is to minimize or eliminate the negative impacts. ‘Certified Aquaculture’ farms have demonstrated responsible practices which minimize or eliminate negative impacts.    
Is farm-raised seafood as nutritious as wild capture seafood?: Many studies use salmon to compare the nutritional values of farm-raised versus wild capture fish. It is important to observe comparisons of wild salmon and farm-raised salmon should take into account there are 7 different salmon species: Atlantic salmon, cherry salmon, chum (keta) salmon, coho salmon, king salmon, pink salmon and sockeye salmon. Of the 7 species, Atlantic, coho and king salmon are grown commercially (farm-raised). The bottom line is that all salmons are considered a good source of omega 3 fatty acids. For those monitoring saturated fat consumption, a 3 ounce cooked serving of Atlantic salmon contains 2 g of saturated fat. This is 10% of the daily recommended allowance, which is less than a pat of butter (2.6 g).
Where was my farm-raised fish grown?: In addition to labeling regulations ‘Certified Aquaculture’ has 53 control points to assist in product traceability. Traceability is the term used to define the process to track a product back to its origin. The GGN Number on the ‘Certified Aquaculture’ seafood product enables consumers to trace the product back to the farm.
‘Certified Aquaculture’ is a tool with 256 control points, these are strict standards which major global retailers and foodservice distributors have adopted to provide additional assurance to consumers. With over 35 ‘Certified Aquaculture’ finfish, crustacean and mollusk species available, there is a wide variety of seafood to choose from. When shopping for seafood look for the GGN logo and shop with confidence.

[1] Albertinka J. Murk, Ivonne M.C.M. Rietjens3 and Simon R. Bush, Perceived versus real toxicological safety of pangasius catfish: a review modifying market perspectives, Reviews in Aquaculture (2016) 0, 1–12 p. 10