New organic standards for UK could include higher welfare requirements

by
Editorial Staff

UK organic certifier The Soil Association has launched a new consultation inviting the public to give their views and help drive forward standards for fish farming in the UK

Since first developing aquaculture standards in the late 1990s, Soil Association standards have been enshrined in UK and European law for organic, and some have even been adopted by the non-organic sector.

With innovation within fish farming happening at a fast pace, the charity has this year been reviewing rules for organic producers and the proposals are now open for the public to comment on.

Soil Association Head of Standards Chris Atkinson said: “Organic farmers are pioneers in sustainable food production, and it is essential that our standards keep them at the leading edge of best practice. As part of our policy to keep all organic standards under review, we are proposing an update to our aquaculture standards to align them with the most recent research and developments to organic standards across Europe. We are seeking all views and anyone with an interest in the fish sector and sustainable food production should get involved with the consultation to help us to ensure organic continues to drive forward standards of fish farming in the UK.”

Proposals include measures to further improve welfare standards for Atlantic salmon and the wrasse and lumpfish sometimes farmed with them, as well as stricter rules to better manage sea lice and lessen potential impacts on the environment.

Additional requirements are also proposed for feed processors to record data on what feed is used, in order to generate more evidence that can help progress the standards as part of the ongoing evolution of best practice.

A second stage of the review is planned for 2024, which is due to look at other species and respond to expected developments in legislation around aquaculture from Scottish Government.

The consultation is open for 60 days, closing on Monday 29 January 2024. The charity’s dedicated standards review team will then assess responses and an update to the standards will be published later in the year.

A review of Soil Association organic standards for farming and growing in Northern Ireland is taking place in tandem with the aquaculture review, and this consultation also opened today.

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