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Riverence becomes first aquaculture farmer to achieve fish welfare standard

Thursday, July 21, 2022

Where Food Comes From, the resource for independent, third-party verification of food production practices in North America, announced that Riverence Provisions LLC, a rainbow trout and steelhead trout farming, processing and distribution company in North America, is the first to have its farming operations FishCARE Certified. The FishCARE standard for aquaculture operations was developed by the Postelsia unit of Where Food Comes From. 

The FishCARE standard for the aquaculture industry verifies that producers are using best practices in caring for animals, the environment, and the people and communities who support them while paving the way for producers to credibly demonstrate their sustainability commitments and supports a more holistic food systems narrative. The development of FishCARE was guided by the support of a diverse scientific advisory committee with expertise including social and environmental sustainability, climate concerns, responsible supply chains, as well as the perspectives from the culinary community. 

Postelsia, a division of Where Food Comes From, specializes in place-based seafood sustainability initiatives and developed this standard for land-based aquaculture farmers including pond, raceway, and recirculating aquaculture systems. 

“Our work with aquaculture farmers around the world has shown us that there are many interesting stories waiting to be told about how our food is produced. Our hope is that the FishCARE standard will help tell some of those stories for aquaculture operations and allow these producers to differentiate themselves like the CARE Certified program has done for land-based proteins,” said Corey Peet of Postelsia. 

“We are thrilled to become the first FishCARE approved producer as animal welfare has been a priority for us at Riverence for quite some time. We are pleased we can now communicate that to the market along with our commitments to environmental and social sustainability,” said Jesse Trushenski, chief science officer and VP of Animal Welfare for the Riverence Group.  

The standard

The CARE Certified family of verification standards, which have been developed by Where Food Comes From for the beef, pork, poultry, dairy and now aquaculture industries, are intended to recognize farmers who go above and beyond current industry standards when it comes to animal care, environmental and community aspects while ensuring that traceability remains intact.  

Producers certified to the FishCARE standard are required to follow practices that minimize farm impact on the surrounding ecosystem through wastewater use, habitat considerations, responsible and reduced wild fish use, escape management and disease prevention. They also provide a safe and supportive environment to their workers through a focus on training, worker health and safety considerations, emergency preparedness and fair compensation in addition to engaging with their local communities to thoughtfully plan for the future of their workers and the business. 

The FishCARE sustainability standard is unique in the aquaculture space as it provides comprehensive standards to ensure fish are being humanely raised and relies on the use of science-based welfare indicators. Producers certified against the standard are able to verify that their fish are raised in a clean and safe environment. CARE Certified aquaculture producers prioritize fish health and follow humane practices throughout the farming process, including handling, transportation, and slaughter.

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