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Certifying Best Practices
Responsible Aquaculture
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Tilapia Standards Print E-mail
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Tilapia Farm Certification

The following standards comprise the core of the BAP certification program. Developed and copyrighted by the Global Aquaculture Alliance, these Best Aquaculture Practices standards and guidelines reflect program points in four primary areas: Community, Environment, Food Safety and Traceability.

To be certified by the Best Aquaculture Practices, applicants shall comply with all (100%) of the critical inspection requirements on the Tilapia Farm Application (In Microsoft Excel format), score at least 70% on the scored inspection requirements and maintain specified production records for traceability for at least three months. After five years, certified facilities shall comply with all critical requirements and score 80% or better on the scored requirements.

For a further explanation of the BAP standards, including several sample forms and worksheets, click the "Guidelines" links that follow each standard or download the full Guidelines below. The word "shall" is used throughout to indicate mandatory provisions. For further information, please refer to the additional resources listed within the Guidelines.

These Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards apply to the production of tilapia in ponds or cages/net pens in lakes, reservoirs and other water bodies.


Full Guidelines for Standards
1In PDF format. If needed, download free Adobe Acrobat software


1.  Property Rights and Regulatory Compliance

Farms shall comply with local and national laws and environmental regulations, and provide current documentation that demonstrates legal rights for land use, water use, construction, operation and waste disposal.

2.  Community Relations

Farms shall strive for good community relations and not block access to public areas, common land, fishing grounds or other traditional natural resources used by local communities.

3.  Worker Safety and Employee Relations

Farms shall comply with local and national labor laws to assure adequate worker safety, compensation and, where applicable, on-site living conditions.


4.  Wetland Conservation and Biodiversity Protection

Aquaculture facilities shall not be located in mangrove or other sensitive wetland areas where they displace important natural habitats. Farm operations shall not damage wetlands or reduce the biodiversity of other ecosystems. Wetland area removed for allowable purposes shall be mitigated.

5.  Effluent Management

Farms shall monitor their effluents to confirm compliance with BAP effluent water quality criteria*. In lakes, reservoirs and estuaries, operations shall comply with feeding rate limits.

Water quality measurements taken during certification inspection shall meet both BAP criteria and those of applicable government permits. Facilities shall comply with BAP’s final criteria within five years.

* Limited Option: The source water for aquaculture farms can have higher concentrations of water quality variables than allowed by the initial criteria. In these cases, demonstration that the concentrations of the variables do not increase (or decrease for dissolved oxygen) by more than the final values between the source water and farm effluent is an acceptable alternative to compliance with the criteria. This option does not apply to pH, dissolved oxygen and chloride.

After the first year of effluent monitoring, BAP will also use data provided by facilities’ application forms to calculate an annual water use index, annual load indices for total suspended solids, soluble phosphorus, total ammonia nitrogen and five-day biochemical oxygen demand, as described in complete standards. Load indicies for nitrogen and phosphorus will be estimated for cage and net pen culture operations in lakes and reservoirs.

6.  Fishmeal and Fish Oil Conservation

Farms shall accurately monitor feed inputs and minimize the use of fishmeal and fish oil derived from wild fisheries.

7.  Soil and Water Conservation

Farm construction and operations shall not cause soil and water salinization or deplete groundwater in surrounding areas. Farms shall properly manage and dispose of sediment from ponds, canals and settling basins.

8.  Control of Escapes, Use of GMOs

Certified farms shall shall take measures to minimize escapes of farm stock and comply with governmental regulations regarding the use of native and non-native species, and genetically modified organisms.

9.  Storage and Disposal of Farm Supplies

Fuel, lubricants and agricultural chemicals shall be stored and disposed of in a safe and responsible manner. Paper and plastic refuse shall be disposed of in a sanitary and responsible way.

10.  Animal Welfare

Producers shall demostrate that all operations on farms that involve fish are designed and operated with animal welfare in mind.  Employees shall be trained to provide appropriate levels of husbandry.

Food Safety

11.  Drug and Chemical Management

Banned antibiotics, drugs and other chemical compounds shall not be used. Other therapeutic agents shall be used as directed on product labels for control of diagnosed diseases or required pond management, not prophylactic purposes.

12.  Microbial Sanitation

Human waste and untreated animal manure shall be prevented from contaminating pond waters. Domestic sewage shall be treated and not contaminate surrounding areas.

13.  Harvest and Transport

Fish shall be harvested and transported to processing plants or other markets in a manner that maintains temperature control and minimizes stress, physical damage and contamination.


Record-Keeping Requirement

To establish product traceability, the following data shall be recorded for each culture unit and each production cycle:

• culture unit identification number

• unit area or volume

• stocking date

• quantity of fingerlings stocked

• source of fingerlings (hatchery)

• antibiotic and drug use

• herbicide, algicide and other pesticide use

• manufacturer and lot number for each feed used

• harvest date

• harvest quantity

• processing plant or purchaser

  Best Aquaculture Practices
706 N. Suncoast Blvd.
Crystal River, Florida 34429 USA
P.O. Box 2530
Crystal River, Florida 34423 USA
Telephone: +1-352-563-0565 · Fax: +1-425-650-3001
Web: www.bestaquaculturepractices.org
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Last Updated ( Thursday, 29 November 2012 )