Soil Association launches aquaculture standards consultation

Aquaculture standards consultation

The Soil Association is consulting on proposed changes to its organic aquaculture standards and is calling on producers, industry experts and consumers with an interest in organic aquaculture to have their say.

The proposed new standards require organic aquaculture operators to go further than EU law in several key areas. This includes a requirement for new fish farm sites to be selected responsibly – taking into account environmental factors, water quality, the potential for contamination and impacts on fish health. Other additional standards will be maintained to ensure good animal welfare, high water quality, that only suitable veterinary treatments are used with longer withdrawal periods observed and the restriction of practices such as mussel seed dredging.

Speaking about the proposed new standards, Chris Atkinson, head of standards at the Soil Association said; “Globally, demand for farmed fish is increasing and as the industry expands we want to show that there is a better way to farm, for animal welfare, water quality and human health. The ultimate purpose of organic certification is to make change in the world – to produce our food and other products in ways that are kinder to our planet and better for us. The changes to our standards will help explain the difference that additional Soil Association standards make in the world and ensure the benefits are significant.”

“We want to encourage as many people as possible to respond to the consultation – especially those with expertise in organic and non-organic fish farming, fish welfare, feed and the production or harvesting of seaweed. Consultation responses are important to the process, influencing our standards to ensure they are suitable for the industry and represent consumer expectations.”

The proposed changes to the Soil Association organic aquaculture standards are part of a wider standards review. The Soil Association is updating its standards to make them as straightforward, practical and transparent as possible. Organic food comes from trusted sources and meets strict standards laid down in European law, giving consumers confidence in the food they buy. The review covers all sectors governed by the EU regulation: agriculture, aquaculture, processing and horticulture.

If agreed, the new Soil Association organic aquaculture standards will be published in January 2016. A suitable lead-in time for licensees and applicants to meet any additional standards will be provided.
If you would prefer to respond to the standards consultation in writing or over the phone, please contact or 0117 314 5178
For press enquiries, please contact:

Natasha Collins-Daniel, Press Office Manager – 0117 914 2448 / 07827 925380

Hayley Coristine, Digital Communications and Press Officer – 0117 314 5170

The Soil Association was founded in 1946 by farmers, scientists, doctors and nutritionists to promote the connection between the health of the soil, food, animals, people and the environment. Today the Soil Association is the UK's leading membership charity campaigning for healthy, humane and sustainable food, farming and land use. Its Chief Executive is Helen Browning, and Chair of Trustees is Dennis Overton.

Soil Association Certification is a wholly owned subsidiary with an independent board chaired by Linda Campbell, which certifies over 70% of all organic products sold in the UK. Certifying organic food and farming since 1973, and more recently, organic textiles, health and beauty products, the team has built up extensive practical experience and provides unrivalled support before, during and after certification. It also audits other schemes within catering and forestry, including the Food for Life Catering Mark, and the FSC and PEFC forestry standards internationally, delivering assurances of quality and provenance that industry and consumers can trust. To find out more visit