Letter from GAA’s Wally Stevens on COVID-19

These are certainly unprecedented times. As we navigate through the uncharted waters of novel coronavirus (COVID-19), know that the Global Aquaculture Alliance (GAA) remains zeroed in on its mission — to promote responsible aquaculture practices through education, advocacy and demonstration.

Some of you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on GAA’s Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) third-party certification program. The seven certification bodies (CBs) accredited to conduct BAP audits are granting extensions on a case-by-case basis. The BAP program integrity and certification teams are in contact with CBs on a daily basis, carefully evaluating the circumstance of each processing plant, farm, hatchery or feed mill and deciding how to best move forward. They’re also working with CBs to determine which audit functions can be administered remotely so audits can be conducted in a timely manner. Meanwhile, the BAP market development team continues to work with our retail and foodservice partners to help them meet their sustainability goals, despite any disruptions in supply.

Check GAA’s COVID-19 blog regularly for updates related to BAP.

At the same time, all of you are concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on your businesses, employees and customers. So are we. GAA is member-based organization, acting as a voice for responsible aquaculture, especially in times of need. We’ve ramped up our messaging in support of those on the front lines of the seafood supply chain, who continue to provide the public with the world’s heathiest protein. While GAA’s employees are able to work remotely, this is not possible for those working on farms and in processing plants or those loading and unloading delivery vehicles or stocking shelves in grocery stores. Our thoughts are with you.

Thank you to our existing members and especially to our founding members who have been with us since our inception in 1997. Without your support, we wouldn’t be able to engage in pre-competitive activities like the Global Outlook for Aquaculture Leadership (GOAL) conference, the Global Aquaculture Advocate online magazine and the Global Aquaculture Academy e-learning platform. For existing members about to renew membership or for potential members considering membership, know that your membership dollars help us continue with our pre-competitive education and advocacy work.

Though social distancing is currently defining how we conduct our work, use this as an opportunity to reach out to family members, friends and business associates who you haven’t connected with in a while. Surprise someone by reaching out. It will brighten up their day as well as yours. And stay positive. The short-term sacrifices that we’re making now will pay dividends in the long run.

Take care.

Wally Stevens
Global Aquaculture Alliance