FAQS – FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
What you always wanted to know: On this page, we have collected and answered the most frequently asked questions on aquaculture and certification.
Following the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations – FAO, Definition of Aquaculture:
“Aquaculture is the farming of aquatic organisms: fish, mollusks, crustaceans, aquatic plants, crocodiles, alligators, turtles, and amphibians. Farming implies some form of intervention in the rearing process to enhance production, such as regular stocking, feeding, protection from predators, etc. Farming also implies individual or corporate ownership of the stock being cultivated. For statistical purposes, aquatic organisms which are harvested by an individual or corporate body which has owned them throughout their rearing period contribute to aquaculture, while aquatic organisms which are exploitable by the public as a common property resource, with or without appropriate licenses, are the harvest of capture fisheries.”
Today we consume much more fish per head than in former times – approximately 20 kilos per year. A growing part of global fish consumption is now covered by fish farming. When looking at the chart of the FAO, we can see that aquaculture production has been rising consistently over the last few decades.
Source: FAO The State of World Fisheries and Aquaculture (SOFIA, 2016)
In view of the already existing overfishing of the oceans, aquaculture is the only way to cover the rising, worldwide demand for fishery products. However, in order for the natural resources to be used gently and sustainably, a sustainable form of aquaculture that is controlled through certification is particularly important.
 The Economist: Getting serious about overfishing, May 27th 2017
Unsustainable fishing of forage fish, which is processed into fish feed, immediately makes any sustainable aquaculture unsustainable. That is why GLOBALG.A.P. also provides clear rules for animal feed production. If wild fish is part of the feed manufacturing process, it must come from fisheries that act in accordance with the FAO (Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations) Code of Conduct for Responsible Fisheries. Beyond that, there is a trend towards alternative feed additives, such as insects and algae. The proportion of wild-caught fish for feed is thus steadily decreasing. However, since the amount of feed greatly exceeds the breeding results, the composition and the origin of the feed remains a major challenge in aquaculture. But certain species of fish, such as carp, require only a vegetarian diet. And mussel farms require no artificial feed at all, since they simply feed on organisms in the sea currents. So, when it comes to purchasing mussels or scallops, you do not have to worry at all with respect to feed.
The GGN label guarantees environmentally friendly production methods, in which care is taken of animal welfare aspects and employees are provided with safe and socially acceptable working conditions. This conserves resources and secures the livelihood of the present and future global population.
You can be sure that products with the GGN Certified Aquaculture label have been cultivated in a controlled and verified manner. Our farmers adhere strictly to the requirements of the GLOBALG.A.P. Standard and are tested accordingly. Products without a label may also have been produced under similar conditions, but the difference is: You as a consumer cannot be sure, as no inspection body has checked the long-term compliance with the respective conditions. The GGN label above all provides safety and the possibility of checking.
If you see a GGN label on packaging, it means that the product is certified according to the guidelines of the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard and that this has been verified by an independent body. The GLOBALG.A.P. Standard provides standard requirements regarding food safety, animal welfare, environmental protection, occupational health & safety and employee care. From the procurement of fish eggs and the suitability of the site, the use of water, chemicals and medicines, to the harvesting, processing, packaging and the entire supply chain, the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard covers all necessary steps.
GGN is the abbreviation for GLOBALG.A.P. Number. Every farmer has an individual 13-digit number. Using this number, you can transparently track the origin of your product by entering it in the search field on this page. The number will take you directly to the farm profile of the producer, where you will find pictures of the farm as well as lots of useful information, for example about farming methods.
G.A.P. stands for Good Agricultural Practices – and GLOBALG.A.P. is the worldwide standard that ensures these practices. We are a non-profit organization with an important goal: The safe and sustainable production of food as well as of flowers and ornamental plants all over the world. To do so, we use a voluntary standard for the worldwide certification of agricultural products. More and more farmers are now taking part and, together with suppliers and buyers, are taking the opportunity to develop the standard together with us.
GLOBALG.A.P. Certification takes three steps:
- The farmers inform themselves about the relevant GLOBALG.A.P. Standard and perform a self-check to see if they comply with all points.
- They then contact a certification body that is active in their respective country, and arrange an appointment for the initial inspection. An inspector then checks on location whether all the requirements of the standard are met.
- If upon inspection all GLOBALG.A.P. criteria are deemed to have been met, a GLOBALG.A.P. Certificate is issued.
An independent certification body checks once a year whether compliance with all criteria is still ensured. In addition, unannounced inspections are also carried out.
The GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard currently provides certification for 30 species (also including finfish, molluscs and crustaceans). The candidates for certification are listed in the GLOBALG.A.P. Product List.
Many shops already have products that are certified by us – but unfortunately not all of them. If you cannot find any products with GGN Certified Aquaculture label in your local point of purchase, please talk to the respective employees. Ask them to inform their management about your purchase request.
The GLOBALG.A.P. Standard provides concrete specifications as to how the impact of the aquaculture facility on the environment can be minimized. These include the inventory, monitoring, as well as concrete measures in relation to water consumption and sanitary sewage disposal, the handling of chemical substances (transport, use and storage), waste disposal (recycling and reuse) and energy efficiency. In addition, outbreaks of farmed fish into the wild must be prevented through appropriate measures. The new construction and operation of a facility in a protected area (for example in mangrove forests) is not permitted.
The GLOBALG.A.P. Standard for Aquaculture foresees various criteria in this area:
- The employees on the fish farm are specially trained in the area of animal welfare. This is a prerequisite for continuous monitoring of animal health at all stages of production (breeding, early life stages, farmed fish, harvest and slaughter). The following production stages, in particular slaughter and processing, must provide regular feedback in relation to animal welfare.
- The farm must have in place a comprehensive Veterinary Health Plan where all instructions are given in detail to the workers and signed by an animal health specialist.
- Procedures that respect animal welfare and that avoid unnecessary stress must be ensured on the farm at all times. The system used must be designed to prevent outbreaks into the wilderness and the penetration of wild fish and predators.
Animal welfare is an important component of the GLOBALG.A.P. Aquaculture Standard. This includes the verification of the optimal water quality, the avoidance of any unnecessary stress, ongoing observation and vaccination, which in the end protects the fish against diseases.
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