Good Aquacultural Practices

Program Description

The safety of farm-raised seafood has become an issue of increasing concern in the US. An obvious approach to help assure the safety of our food is to have the various government agencies with responsibility inspect and certify all foods against chemical and biological contamination. When one considers the enormity and potential expense of this task it becomes clear that it is not a reasonable approach. A better approach is to combine limited inspection with on farm education in Good Aquacultural Practices (GAqP) that will improve the safety of foods shipped from the farms. Nowhere is this more important than in foods imported from overseas, production sources over which the US has little control other than shutting off imports. For exporters the potential closure of US markets is a strong incentive to cooperate. In the last few years FDA has detained approximately 10% of the imported shrimp shipments at port of entry because they tested positive for Salmonella, resulting in financial losses to producers and increased costs for inspection services.

The JIFSAN GAqP Program is based on the Train-the-Trainer concept. Trainees of this program will in turn train processors in safe handling and quality control.

Why is GAqP Training Needed?

The majority of the concerns for the safety and quality of raw aquaculture products originate at the farm level, where there is little or no training or regulatory oversight. These concerns include contamination with human pathogens such as Salmonella and chemical contaminants, usually misused or unapproved chemotherapeutic drugs.

Seafood processors, in contrast, have several types of food safety training available to them and usually have their own safety and quality control programs. They are required worldwide to comply with HACCP and GMP and must undergo regulatory inspections by officials at the local, state, and federal level.

Although aquaculture production controls are enforced in the United States, the majority of our aquaculture-produced seafood is imported. Shrimp is the most traded seafood product in the world. In the United States, 86% of the shrimp, salmon, tilapia and other fish and shellfish come from other countries. Most of this is shrimp. The largest exporters of shrimp to the US are China, Bangladesh, and South Korea although numerous other countries supply the U.S. and the list is growing.

Train-the-Trainer Program

The GAqP Train-the-Trainer Program is a five-day in-country training course for extension specialists or their equivalent and other individuals from the country with responsibilities for education and outreach on aquaculture food safety. After completing the JIFSAN course the participants are expected to deliver their own training programs in-country and report their activities to JIFSAN.

JIFSAN initially collaborated with the Johnson Diversey Corporation and enlisted experts from academia and the FDA to develop the GAqP training program. The pilot program was offered in Vietnam in 2006. Since then the program materials have been improved and the content expanded to meet the needs of international producers.

Seafood HACCP Certification

One of the best tools to help ensure food safety along the supply chain is the adoption of HACCP (Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points) protocols. As an adjunct to the GAqP program JIFSAN now offers GAqP/HACCP, a multi-faceted training program in seafood HACCP. Participants in the GAqP/HACCP program start by registering and completing the online Seafood HACCP Alliance course offered by Cornell University. Candidates then complete the face-to-face portion of the training as an added component of JIFSAN’s standard GAqP program. Upon completion participants earn AFDO/Seafood Alliance seafood HACCP certification.

Typical Program Content

A typical program includes lectures, presentations, problem analysis, pond farm and production facility visits and evaluation. A key component of the program is the on farm and production facility visit. These visits allow the participants to evaluate their local practices and make recommendations for improvement under the guidance of the teaching team. The GAqP recommendations are globally applicable and independent of location or agricultural and industrial circumstances. Future trainers can use the manual and materials free of charge. The course includes a module on Effective Training to assist in developing the best program to fit available teaching resources, audiences’ needs and cultural and political circumstances.

Topics Covered Include:

  • Aquaculture Product Safety and Consumer Health
  • Trade and Aquaculture Products
  • HACCP Applications in Shrimp Hatchery Operations
  • Grow-out Pond and Water Quality Management
  • Traceability from Farm to Table
  • Prerequisite Programs for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
  • Effective Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures
  • Food Laws and Regulations
  • Use of Chemotherapeutics and Antibiotics
  • Exercise Hand Washing
  • Field Trip Exercise
  • Standard Operating Procedures
  • HACCP Principles for Control of Antibiotic Residues
  • Developing an Effective Training Program

Training Locations

Training Locations GAqP

Year Location Dates Participants
2023 Chennai, India January 9-13, 2023 34
2017 Lima, Peru (Included HACCP Certification)  July 17-21, 2017 40
2016 Cebu, Philippines (Included HACCP Certification) August 1-4, 2016 46
2016 Khulna, Bangledesh HACCP TTT June 1-3, 2016 25
2015 Guayaquil,Ecuador (Included HACCP Certification) March 16-20, 2015 28
2015 Kingston,Jamaica  (Included HACCP Certification) March 2-16, 2015 44
2014 Jakarta, Indonesia (Included HACCP Certification) September 1-5, 2014 32
2014 Khulna, Bangladesh (Included HACCP Certification) February 24 - 24, 2014 36
2013 Bhubaneswar, Orissa, India (Included HACCP Certification) May 20-24, 2013 28
2013 Nellore, India (Included HACCP Certification) March 11-15, 2013 28
2013 Kochi, India (Included HACCP Certification) March 4-8, 2013 28
2012 Can Tho, Vietnam (Included HACCP Certification) December 3-7, 2012 32
2012 Chennai, India January 17-21, 2012 38
2011 Khulna, Bangladesh December 3-7, 2011 40
2011 Xiamen, China May 16-20, 2011 70
2010 Cox's Bazaar, Bangladesh (Phase III) December 5-9, 2010 54
2010 Bangladesh Intern Program (College Park, UMES, Horns Point) September 13-24, 2010 9
2010 Alor Setar, Malaysia March 8-12, 2010 73
2009 Khulna, Bangladesh November 1-5, 2009 47
2008 Bogor, Indonesia November 3-7, 2008 72
2008 Bangkok, Thailand May 5-10, 2008 49
2006 Can Tho, Vietnam November 13-17, 2006 50

Training Manuals

GAqPS Course Agenda
Download (PDF)

Section I
Good Aquacultural Practices Manual
Download (PDF)

Section II
Aquaculture Product Safety and Consumer Health
Download (PDF)

Section III
Trade and Aquaculture Products
Download (PDF)

Section IV
HACCP Applications in Shrimp Hatchery Operations
Download (PDF)

Section V
HACCP Shrimp Hatchery Operations
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Section VI
Growout Pond and Water Quality Management & Water Quality
Download (PDF)

Section VII
Traceability From Farm to Table
Download (PDF)

Section VIII
Prerequisite Programs for Good Manufacturing Practices (GMPs)
Download (PDF)

Section IX
Effective Cleaning and Sanitizing Procedures
Download (PDF)

Section X
Food Laws and Regulations
Download (PDF)

Section XI
Antibiotics Use of Chemotherapeutics
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Section XII
Exercise Handwashing
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Section XIII
Field Trip Exercise
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Section XIV
Standard Operating Procedures
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Section XV
Use of HACCP Principles to Control Antibiotic Residues in Aquacultured Products
Download (PDF)

Section XVI
HACCP or Other Things Farmers Should Know
Download (PDF)

Section XVII
Cross contamination Instructions Dirty to Clean Surfaces
Download (PDF)

Section XVIII
Effective Training
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Download (PDF)


World Health Organization's Five Keys to Safer Aquaculture Products to Protect Public Health

The Joint Institute for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition (JIFSAN) has joined with the World Health Organization (WHO) in producing FIVE KEYS TO SAFER AQUACULTURE PRODUCTS TO PROTECT PUBLIC HEALTH.

The training manual is designed for use by health educators and aquaculture specialists conducting health and aquaculture training for small aquaculture producers who raise fish for themselves, their families, for sale in local markets or to larger distributors. The manual describes the key practices needed to ensure safer fish production, from where to place the ponds to post-harvest handling.

The manual is available for download on the WHO publications page.