Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment Water & Agriculture Hosts BAP Workshop
In November 2023, the Global Seafood Alliance, alongside the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s Ministry of Environment, Water & Agriculture (MEWA), hosted a workshop on the progress of Best Aquaculture Practices (BAP) certification in Saudi Arabia.
The event was attended by some 40+ persons, including the Assistant Deputy Minister for Livestock & Fisheries of MEWA (Dr. Ali Al Shaikhi), the VP of Operations of the National Fisheries Development Program (NLFDP) of MEWA (Mr. Philippos Papageorgiou), the Director of Aquaculture of NLFDP (Mr. Ibrahim Alzahrani), members of the Saudi Aquaculture Society (SAS), BAP certified producers (including the largest in Saudi Arabia, National Aquaculture Group NAQUA), and a number of producers interested in gaining BAP certification. Certified facilities in the Kingdom also include Jazadco, Aqua Bridge Company, Alnasiriya Works Establishment, Maram Feed Mill Company, Rasheed Al Ballaa Farm for Aquaculture, Saudi Fisheries Company, and Tabuk Fisheries Company.
Global Seafood Alliance signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) with the predecessor of MEWA and the Saudi Aquaculture Society in January 2016 in which the country’s aquaculture facilities are required to earn BAP certification. This event in Riyadh was to celebrate the success of the MoU with an honoring ceremony for MEWA and a certificate of partnership for SAS.
A number of topics were discussed, including:
- Development of the BAP program and SAMAQ certification within Saudi Arabia
- Standard development trends
- Marketplace development within the region
- The Saudi International Marine Exhibition (SIMEC) in February 2024
- A producer Q&A where topics such as responsible sourcing of fishmeal and audit management were discussed
Dr. Ali Al Shaikhi noted, “For MEWA, the mandatory certification of all aquaculture facilities operating in the country has been a pivotal strategic decision towards the sustainable development of the sector. The Kingdom of Saudi Arabia is the only country in the world that mandates all its aquaculture facilities to be audited and certified by a globally acknowledged third-party certification organization such as BAP/GSA, and that gives us the confidence that all operating facilities adhere to the highest standards and criteria. MEWA will most certainly continue this successful strategic alliance with BAP, for the benefit of both local producers as well as customers and consumers of products of the Saudi aquaculture industry.”
Mr. Philippos Papageorgiou adds, “The mandatory certification of our aquaculture facilities allowed the companies to upgrade their operational standards and provide better market access for their products in international markets. The BAP certification also acted as a foundation for the subsequent development of the SAMAQ (Saudi Arabian Mark of Aquaculture Quality) the national second-party certification and labelling scheme, endorsed by the MEWA and administered by the SAS.”
Iain Shone, GSA’s Market Development Director advises, “It was an honor to be invited to Saudi Arabia, to present at this event and host a lively Q&A discussion. The Global Seafood Alliance places the highest value on its partnership with MEWA and SAS, now in its eighth year since inception. We look forward to continuing to support the Kingdom as it implements its 2030 vision for responsible aquaculture.”
MEWA is the Ministry overseeing and enhancing Environment, Water and Agriculture matters within the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to ensure water and food security and improve quality of life in KSA. The mission of the Ministry is to maintain distinguished performance in developing and applying comprehensive policies and effective strategies, as well as promoting services by engaging the private sector and the competent authorities, with a view to achieving prosperity and sustainability of the environment, water and agriculture.
The Saudi Aquaculture Society is a membership organization to promote and successfully develop Saudi Arabia’s aquaculture industry. The organization has multiple short term objectives working alongside MEWA, which can be read here: https://www.sas.org.sa/en/page/details/21 . The organization also promotes capacity building to ensure application of the best science, technical and economic advice for the sector.
SAMAQ is the national aquaculture product certification and labeling scheme based on responsible aquaculture and the BAP program, for the promotion of Saudi Arabia’s aquaculture products to the local and regional markets.
About 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 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.