When feeding my family, providing nutritious and high-quality food is a must. We love having a backyard garden where we tend to fruits, vegetables, and herbs and have a community supported agriculture (CSA) membership from a local farm that provides us with a box of organic produce each week. I try to cook more sustainable meats like chicken and fish over other proteins but have often wondered how to know if seafood products are truly responsibly produced.
I recently learned about the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification label on seafood products. And with October being National Seafood Month, it’s the perfect time share what I’ve learned about BAP-Certified Seafood to help you make choices that contribute to a sustainable and healthy future for your family and the planet. Keep reading for information about what BAP-certified seafood is, why it matters, where to find it, recipes, and a $50 Target gift card giveaway because yes, BAP-certified seafood is available at Target!
What is the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) Certification?
BAP is the most comprehensive third-party aquaculture certification program in the world, verifying that the product you are buying is ethically and responsibly sourced. It covers the entire production chain, including the processing plant, farm, hatchery, and feed mill. And, it follows the four pillars of responsible seafood as well: environmental responsibility, social accountability, food safety, and animal health and welfare.
Every rung in the ladder is traced and certified – from the egg, to the growing conditions, to the harvest, and all the way through processing – translating to trust that the farm-to-plate seafood you are buying meets the highest standards, for yourself and your family, as well as for the planet!
The BAP label is a part of the Global Seafood Alliance (GSA), which is a nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices. GSA’s advocacy and the blue BAP label make it easy to identify responsibly sourced farmed seafood produced under the best practices possible.
If you want to learn more about the certification program and how to “Choose Seafood with Standards”, you can visit the Best Aquaculture Practices website.
Why BAP-Certified Seafood Matters
Our population is quickly growing, to the tune of 8 billion people, and we are in need of a consistent and sustainable source of healthy protein. This certification program has helped the farmed seafood industry evolve significantly over the past twenty years, to the point that it is now a source for one of the most responsible choices we can make.
As mentioned above, the BAP certification follows the four pillars of responsible seafood, and below are some examples of the program requirements:
- Environmental Responsibility: Producers must maintain healthy marine and terrestrial ecosystems located in areas that do not displace natural habitats. BAP promotes reduced use of marine fish as feed and, when used, ensures they come from sustainable sources that help conserve marine biodiversity
- Social Accountability: Producers must compensate their workers appropriately and ensure their well-being is protected. This makes certain that fair labor practices and ethical treatment of workers within the aquaculture industry are upheld.
- Food Safety: Certified products are rigorously tested for microbiological and chemical contamination, and areproduced in an environment with a pest management plan in place. Antibiotic use is also restricted and not allowed to be used prophylactically. BAP standards are independently benchmarked to international standards by the Global Food Safety Initiative (GFSI) and Global Sustainable Seafood Initiative (GSSI).
- Animal Health and Welfare: Water quality and animal welfare are closely monitored with stocking density requirements and other measures in place. This ensures animals are handled in a way that minimizes stress and monitors their well-being throughout their life cycle.
Where to Find BAP-Certified Seafood
Find BAP-certified seafood products by looking for the distinctive blue label on packaging in your regional grocers (H-E-B, Giant Eagle, etc.) as well as national stores like Walmart and Target.
Many direct-to-consumer companies also source from BAP-certified producers, like Hello Fresh, Green Chef, Seatopia and Secret Island Salmon, leading to easier choices when it comes to responsible, nutritious meals. You can go to BAP’s “Where to Find” page to view all stores that carry certified products.
Since it’s National Seafood Month, many grocery stores are partnering with the GSA to promote BAP-certified seafood. Now through the end of October, there are special discounts and promotions on products!
After my hunt, I found the perfect seafood for this delicious recipe at Target. I picked up Good & Gather Large Raw shrimp during my Target run for this quick, easy, and healthy dinner using BAP-certified shrimp.
You can find additional inspiration for delicious seafood recipes on the BAP website here.
As we celebrate National Seafood Month, make a positive impact by choosing BAP-certified seafood. By supporting aquaculture practices that meet the highest standards in environmental responsibility and food safety, you are contributing to a sustainable and healthy future for yourself and the planet.
BAP-Certified Seafood Giveaway!
In honor of October being National Seafood Month, Best Aquaculture Practices is providing one reader with a $50 Target digital gift card to shop for BAP-certified seafood. To enter, visit use the BAP website and share a recipe you’d be interested in trying in the comments below. Use the Rafflecopter form for extra entries.
Best Aquaculture Practices provided me with a Target gift card to use to shop for BAP-certified seafood for my family but all opinions are my own. Images courtesy of Best Aquaculture Practices.