The Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) encourages consumers to look for shrimp products containing the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) label. BAP-certified farms, hatcheries, feed mills and processing plants are audited against the rigorous BAP standards by a third-party auditor annually to ensure that responsible farming and processing practices are followed.
Antibiotics are considered a critical tool for use by animal-health professionals to control disease. However, excessive antibiotic use can lead to antimicrobial resistance (AMR), which is a growing concern in human medicine. Consequently, BAP standards allow antibiotic use, but only under strict guidelines that ensure antibiotics are administered properly.
Antibiotic use for growth stimulation is strictly prohibited by the BAP standards. Antibiotics are only allowed for therapeutic purposes under strict guidelines that ensure antibiotics are administered responsibly.
In the BAP finfish and crustacean farm standards, only specific antibiotics are allowed for therapeutic purposes under the following circumstances:
- Antibiotics are administered by a registered veterinarian or animal health professional only to treat diagnosed diseases, and the antibiotic use must not exceed three treatments per one-growing cycle
- Records must be maintained for every application of antibiotics, including the date of use, compound used, reason(s) for use, antibiotic sensitivity test results, dosage and harvest date
- Residue tests are required after the withdrawal period to ensure food-safety requirements are met
- Antibiotics that are proactively prohibited in the country producing the aquaculture product or in the country importing the product are strictly prohibited for use in feeds, pond additives or any other treatment
The use of antibiotics is also addressed at the processing level, as BAP is the world’s only third-party aquaculture certification program with standards for seafood processing plants. In the BAP seafood processing plant standards, processors and third-party laboratories are required to collect random samples from finished product to test for antibiotic residues, which is also part of the HACCP plan requirements and supplier performance-monitoring requirements. Third-party auditors also collect random samples for testing during the auditing process. Further, BAP employs a rigorous risk-based testing methodology requiring automatic heightened testing of processing plants where residues of prohibited antibiotics are detected.
GAA encourages consumers to buy shrimp products from the more than 150 retail and foodservice companies worldwide that are publicly committed to sourcing seafood from BAP-certified processing plants and farms as well as hatcheries and feed mills, of which there are more than 1,850 worldwide.
In addition to BAP, GAA is involved in pre-competitive activities meant to move the needle forward on responsible aquaculture, including preventing the abuse of antibiotics in aquaculture. Along with stakeholders from industry, government, academia and the conservation community, GAA addresses these issues in great detail at its annual GOAL conference, in its Global Aquaculture Advocate news website and in its online learning program, GAA Academy.
“GAA takes pride in its comprehensive standards covering the full aquaculture production chain but also in bringing together researchers, commercial producers and other stakeholders to find responsible solutions to emerging issues. For example, certain shrimp diseases can be managed more effectively without antibiotics through the fundamental disciplines of breeding, disinfection, sanitation, dry-out, probiotics, control of excessive organic matter and area management,” said GAA President George Chamberlain.