GSA, TCRS, Choice Canning Partner to Uplift Small-Scale Aquaculture Farmers
The Global Seafood Alliance, The Center for Responsible Seafood (TCRS) and Choice Canning Co. on June 21, 2023, signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) designed to uplift small-scale aquaculture farmers in India by offering more education and training opportunities on responsible aquaculture practices.
Dubbed the Responsible Farming Practices, the two-year initiative is meant to bring more economic stability to farming communities challenged by a lack of infrastructure, capital, insurance, financial planning, market exposure and access to information on responsible aquaculture practices.
Approximately 90 percent of the world’s aquaculture farms are small-scale or family-owned. Initially, the initiative will focus on India and will be modeled in a way that can be applied beyond India.
The initiative consists of four phases. The first phase is assessment and includes identifying infrastructure needs, analyzing and prioritizing challenges and identifying trainers and farmer participants. The second phase is the implementation of an education and training program using GSA’s Best Aquaculture Practices certification standards as a framework. The third phase is outreach and includes growing the training program through increased participation and building marketplace support for the initiative. The fourth and final stage is graduating the farmer participants from the initiative.
The education and training program will include content on water-quality monitoring, biosecurity, disease management, feed management and data management, delivered through using a train-the-trainers approach with classroom-style workshops and visits to farms participating in the program.
The program will be certificate-based so farmer participants can be recognized for their work, as the key to long-term success is support from the markets purchasing the farmers’ products, which will lead to more consistency and economic stability year-to-year. Ultimately, it is the hope of this partnership that using a certificate-based approach will lead to more standardized practices enticing insurers and creditors to provide practical rates for the aquaculture farming sector in India and beyond.
“As an industry, we need to do a better job of helping farmers improve their lifestyles, educating them and providing them some type of protection through insurance,” said Jose Thomas, president of Choice Canning Co. “The objective here is the farmer. Without him or her, there is no shrimp on the shelf. It’s time that we help them more.”
“Farmers and fishers are the people who bring seafood to our tables, so I am thrilled to start this partnership with Choice Canning and TCRS in order to provide support and training to the farmers who want to use responsible practices,” said Wally Stevens, CEO of GSA. “Ultimately, it is this type of work that brings assurances to the marketplace and consumers who want to enjoy seafood.”
“TCRS is committed to bringing improvements to the global farming and fisher communities, the vast majority of which are very small businesses,” said George Chamberlain, president of TCRS. “By using the knowledge and experience of experts we will be able to deliver training that will help drive improvements in shrimp farming practices which will help these small businesses maintain their viability.”
About the Global Seafood Alliance
The Global Seafood Alliance is an international, nonprofit trade association dedicated to advancing responsible seafood practices through education, advocacy and third-party assurances. Through the development of its Best Aquaculture Practices and Best Seafood Practices certification programs, GSA has become the leading provider of assurances for wild and farmed seafood globally. The organization’s work addresses the full spectrum of responsibility, from environmental responsibility and social accountability to food safety. Established in 1997 as the Global Aquaculture Alliance, GSA is headquartered in Portsmouth, N.H., USA. To learn more, visit www.globalseafood.org.
About The Center for Responsible Seafood
The Center for Responsible Seafood (TCRS), formerly the Responsible Aquaculture Foundation, envisions a world meeting the critical need for seafood through regenerative processes and responsible seafood production. TCRS, a nonprofit organization, has developed a track record on transformative projects through knowledge sharing, applied research, field demonstrations, trainings and collaborations with industry, governments, NGOs, academia, development banks and foundations. TCRS strives to go beyond “sustainability,” which implies maintaining current conditions for future generations, to “regenerative production,” which seeks to restore environmental and social systems to levels that are better than the current condition. An example is assisting thousands of traditional small-holder black tiger shrimp farmers in Bangladesh, Vietnam, Indonesia, India, and other SE Asian countries to produce distinctive large sizes with a low carbon footprint, premium quality, and strong social benefits. In 2021, TCRS launched an online global community, e-learning program, and continuing professional development courses and certifications to address the needs of the growing and rapidly evolving seafood sector. For more information and to join the TCRS Online Community, visit http://www.responsibleseafood.org.