GAA Accepts $435,000 Grant to Develop Best Practices for Animal Welfare

This month, the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) via the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation (RAF) accepted a $435,000 grant from the Open Philanthropy Project to develop best practices for animal welfare for salmonids, tilapia and channel catfish.

As part of the two-year grant, GAA will identify best practices for animal welfare by surveying existing commercial practices, reviewing research on new techniques, and conducting field and lab trials to evaluate promising approaches. GAA will present these best practices to its 12-member Standards Oversight Committee (SOC) for consideration in revision of existing animal welfare standards in the Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program. GAA will also share these best practices with industry leaders at its annual GOAL conference and develop education and training courses through its GAA Academy e-learning platform.

GAA will use the funds for expenses related to literature reviews, surveys, field and lab trials, and curriculum development for GAA Academy as well as travel and project administration. The project will be led by GAA President Dr. George Chamberlain, with support from GAA VP Dr. Steve Hart. A technical committee will be established, and aquaculture consultant Dr. John Forster has agreed to chair this committee.

For the Open Philanthropy Project, Lewis Bollard, the foundation’s program officer for farm animal welfare, will oversee the project. Based in San Francisco, the Open Philanthropy Project identifies outstanding giving opportunities, makes grants, follows the results and publishes its findings. Its main funders are Cari Tuna and Dustin Moskovitz, a co-founder of Facebook and Asana. Before becoming an independent organization in June 2017, the Open Philanthropy Project was operated as a partnership between Tuna and Moskovitz’s foundation, Good Ventures, and the charity evaluator GiveWell.

Animal welfare, or animal husbandry, is already one of the five pillars of the industry-leading BAP program, along with environmental responsibility, social responsibility, food safety and traceability. As part of the standards, producers must demonstrate that all operations on farms are designed and operated with animal welfare in mind, and maximum survival must be sought. Also, employees must be trained to provide appropriate levels of animal husbandry. There are six sets of BAP standards — for finfish and crustacean farms, salmon farms, mussel farms, hatcheries and nurseries, feed mills, and seafood processing plants.

About GAA
The Global Aquaculture Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing environmentally and socially responsible aquaculture. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards, GAA has become the leading standards-setting organization for aquaculture seafood.