G.A.P. recently spoke with Catalina Lopez, Director of the Aquatic Animal Alliance (AAA), a global coalition founded in 2020 with the mission to free aquatic animals from suffering. Catalina works for Aquatic Life Institute (ALI), the organization spearheading the AAA. ALI is about to publish an Aquaculture Benchmarking Report comparing several aquaculture certifications across multiple scoring criteria. In anticipation of the release of the report, we asked Catalina to answer a few questions about her organization and the industry-leading research they have been doing.
Who is Aquatic Life Institute (ALI) and what do you do?
The Aquatic Life Institute is a non-profit organization dedicated to improving the lives of aquatic animals in the food system. Through science-based advocacy with governments, corporations, certifiers, academia and international bodies, ALI puts aquatic animal welfare at the forefront of the conversation on improvements of the aquaculture and fishing industries.
You’re about to publish an Aquaculture Benchmarking Report. Tell us more about the report and the research included.
ALI carried out a thorough evaluation of animal welfare standards for 6 of the most prominent certifications in the aquaculture industry. These certifiers included Global Animal Partnership (G.A.P.), RSPCA assured, Naturland, Friend of the Sea, Global G.A.P., and Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP). The implementation of meaningful and accountable animal welfare interventions is imperative and will result in benefits for animals, the environment, and public health alike. Hence, ALI’s new aquaculture certification benchmark tool analyzes current welfare requirements within each farming standard and highlights the areas of opportunity that exist for significant welfare improvements. The areas of evaluation include environmental enrichment, space requirements and stocking density, stunning and slaughter, feeding practices, and water quality. To view the report, click here.
How do you rate G.A.P.’s new Aquaculture Standard and why?
The report recognizes the newly released Global Animal Partnership Farmed Atlantic Salmon welfare standard, as the most welfare-comprehensive standard to date. This standard incorporates the latest science-based interventions to improve welfare for farmed salmon. Certified facilities must include enrichments at all life stages, adhere to strict stocking density limits, monitor water quality on a daily basis, and comply with adequate stunning and slaughter requirements. It also includes a novel ban on insects in farmed fish feed. Insect farming is a potentially significant industry of concern due to the unknown animal welfare consequences and negative environmental impacts throughout the production cycle.
Any other new initiatives or future ALI programming you’d like to share with G.A.P. fans?
ALI invites interested parties to join them at their free side event at the UN Ocean Conference on June 29th, where they will discuss the nexus between sustainable development, ocean conservation, and aquatic animal welfare. If you’re interested in attending, you can register for the free event here.
G.A.P. is so pleased to be recognized as the top-ranked fish welfare program in ALI’s benchmarking report. We are working hard to bring partners onboard, so that we can have our Animal Welfare Certified label for fish in stores (and restaurants) soon. If you’d like to learn more about G.A.P.’s standard, please visit our Farmed Salmon Standards page here. If you’re interested in getting certified, please fill out a form on our website here or email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.