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WASHINGTON -- The National Fisheries Institute (NFI) here has registered its support to establish an organic standard for aquaculture fish, including those raised in net pens and fed wild-caught fishmeal and oil, to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) National Organic Standards Board (NOSB). NFI also urged NOSB to begin work on the creation of organic standards for shellfish as well as wild-caught seafood.
"Seafood represents an important part of a healthy and balanced diet, and it is the goal of NFI to work with NOSB and ensure American consumers have access to USDA certified organic seafood," said Barbara Blakistone, NFI's director, technical and regulatory affairs. "The NOSB should not defer the inclusion of certain limited amounts of wild fishmeal and oil in the feed. This allowance is consistent with sustainability goals, well documented by the Aquaculture Working Group, which also has presented scientific evidence to demonstrate the environmental benefits of farming fish and allay concerns regarding environmental impacts."
As NOSB completes its work on the aquaculture fish standard, NFI recommends the establishment of a wild capture fish working group to thoroughly examine the parameters associated with various fisheries and determine if sufficient criteria exists to develop an organic standard for certain wild fish, noted Blakistone.
The USDA's National Organic Program (NOP) was established to develop national standards for the production and handling of organically produced products under the Organic Foods Production Act of 1990. It is the purpose of NOSB to provide recommendations to the NOP.